Sydney Uni Lions aiming for the history books

The Sydney Uni Lions have high hopes of making history when both their Men’s and Women’s Teams line up in the 2017 National Water Polo League Finals.

Sydney Uni Lions have the record books in their sights to be the first Club to take out both the Men’s and Women’s National Water Polo League titles.

It’s a real possibility after both the Men’s and Women’s teams finished minor premiers.

With the bitter sweet memory of the 2015 season behind them, where both teams made the finals only to loose at the last hurdle, there really is remarkable motivation for these two teams heading into this weekend.

Head Coaches Alicia Smith (Women’s) and Ducan Krstic (Men’s) have said they won’t be too worried about who they might face come Saturday’s semi-final, with their strategy firmly focused on their own performance and preparation.

The Sydney Uni Women’s side, led by Olympians Alicia Smith and Debbie Watson along with Sue Trent, remain undefeated for the season and were certainly the dominate team of the year.

Smith won’t be complacent when her side takes to the pool this weekend commenting that, “no club can afford to start slow or have a bad quarter come the finals”.

While most clubs expected the reining champions to finish on top of the ladder, given the team boasts four Rio Olympians along with dual Spanish Olympian Anni Espar – Smith pays much credit for the success to her more junior team members.

The Olympians have taken somewhat a backseat in the performance stakes so far this season and have actively focused on mentoring the junior players to success.  This method seems to have paid off with junior centre forwards Matilda Kearns and Brooke Dickie awarded early selection into the Stingers Squad on Monday this week.

In the Men’s tournament, it was a much closer contest for the top placings. With Krstic confident that if the men “turn up on the day” and play well, they are still a strong chance for taking home the trophy.

Krstic commented on the team’s defeat in round eight to the Cronulla Sharkswas a bit of a turning point in their game around and it really strengthened the team to go on and produce some of their best water polo in the following rounds.

Team consistency has helped the Lions, Krstic attributing the teams ‘togetherness’ to their success to date. He is confident that the bond the team have going into the finals weekend puts them in the best position possible to play quality water polo.

All the NWPL17 action kicks off this Friday at Pymble Ladies College in Sydney.

Full details on the NWPL Finals – click here.

FRIDAY 7 APRIL

2pm Elimination Final No 2

Men – Brisbane Baracudas v UWA Torpedoes

3:30pm Elimination Final No1

Women – Fremantle Marlins v UTS Balmain Tigers

5:pm Elimination Final No 2

Women – ACU Cronulla Sharks v Brisbane Barracudas

6:30pm Elimination Final No 1

Men – UNSW West Magpies v Drummoyne Devils

SATURDAY 8 APRIL 2017

10:00    5/6 Classification Game – Losers of Elimination Finals – Men

11:30    5/6 Classification Game – Losers of Elimination Finals – Women

13:00    Women Semi Final No 1 – Sydney University Lions v lowest ranked winner Elimination Finals

14:30    Women Semi Final No 2 – Queensland Breakers v highest ranked winner Elimination Finals

16:00    Men Semi Final No 1 – Sydney University Lions v lowest ranked winner Elimination Finals

17:30    Men Semi Final No 2 – ACU Cronulla Sharks v highest ranked winner Elimination Finals – Men

SUNDAY 9 APRIL 2017

9:45      3rd/4th Classification Match – Bronze Medal – Losers of Semi Finals – Men

11:15    3rd/4th Classification Match – Bronze Medal – Losers of Semi Finals – Women

13:00    NWPL Women’s Grand Final XIV

14:30    Women’s Presentation Ceremony

15:00    NWPL Men’s Grand Final XXVIII

16:30    Men’s Presentation Ceremony