2012 NWPL: Finals Day 3 – Semi-Final Matches


One of the main reasons why Sydney University lost this game 7:12 is because they failed to deal adequately with the ‘Beadsworth factor’. The Lions’ “press and front” defensive system did not work as the opponents were still able to ‘feed’ Beardsworth delivering him timely passes. As the result, this centre-forward earned most of Melville’s extra-man opportunities as well as two penalties. Given that Melville’s power-play conversion rate was 83% scoring 5 from 6, those exclusions were damaging plus two realized penalties.

When SU tried to play ‘zone’ to prevent the opposition from passing to the CF, Melville scored through outside shots. The veteran, Tim Neesham, was on fire scoring several skilful goals. Daniel Lawrence and Tim Cleland were the other Melville’s play-makers.

Sydney University looked tired today. The team lacked speed and mobility that were among the determining factors in its success in the previous two matches, allowing them to neutralize heavier but somewhat slower opponents. New Zealander, Tom Kearns, impressed again with his powerful accurate shooting scoring three exciting goals.

Irrespective of the result in the Bronze medal match, Sydney University players and coach, Damien Fanning, should be congratulated on their results this season that they achieved under difficult circumstances. It would not be far from the truth by saying that SU has one of the less favourable training conditions among the National League clubs with limited quality pool time access as one of the main problems.

In the final, Fremantle Mariners will be facing Victorian Tigers. Both teams have won the title in the last two years. Based upon the teams’ performances in the semi-final, it promises to be a very interesting match.

X-man: SU 4/3 (75%) Melville 6/5 (83%)
Penalty: SU 1/0 Melville 2/2
Referees: Andrew Carney and Daniel Flahive

To me it did looked like Daniel Flahive was a bit more sympathetic towards Melville than the Sydney-siders.


From the matches that I watched these teams play throughout the season it was the worst Wests’ performance and Melbourne’s best performance in many years.

Jeff Barrow said on 24 March after his team lost to Wests 5:11 that “… Whilst the score line was disappointing there was enough to take out of the game to know that we will be strong at the pointy end of the season.” Indeed, the Victorians played not only without the mistakes that characterized their earlier performances but were stronger and faster than Wests who were the best team of the season up until now.

Sam McGregor again played one of his best water polo being a participant or finisher in exciting spontaneous attacking combinations. He was ably supported by the entire team with Blake Edwards, Tomas Bruder, Scott Carpenter, Luke Gavin and James Woods being the play-makers.

With 6.31 minutes to go in the fourth period the Tigers extended their lead to 9:5. In about a minute Wests reduced the deficit by one goal. With 3 goals difference in its favour, half way through the quarter, Melbourne received a power-play opportunity. Had they converted it, perhaps the end of the game would have been less dramatic for them. But the poor playing discipline of Matt Martin that caused a turn-over call by referee, Daniel Bartels, deprived his team of the opportunity to finish the game comfortably.

Within the next couple of minutes Wests reduced the goal difference to 1 through excellent goals by Stephen Cody and Johnno Cotterill. With under a minute to go, with the score 8:9, the Magpies had an extra-man attacking opportunity but one of the better shooters in the world, Richard Campbell, shot wide propelling Victorian Tigers into the Grand-Final.

X-man: Wests 8/4 (50%) Melbourne 5/3 (60%)
Referees: Adam Richardson and Daniel Bartels

Referees’ comments –

– Adam Richardson:

A solid game from both teams.  It was a tight first half with both teams getting out of the blocks well. Victoria took controal of the game with some great play from its senior players. Wests had their chances to square the game up with 1 minitue to go through an extra man but the shot from Richie was blocked. The game was certainly the strongest of the semis.

– Daniel Bartels:

The game was hard fought by both teams but the difference really was the middle of the game where Vic earned a firm lead over Wests. Wests fought hard & made a distinct difference once Sam McGregor was fouled out. After 3 quick goals Vic were lucky to hold on.

Coach and players’ comments –

– Jeff Barrow (M):

A very tough game against Wests, but we would not expect anything else. We worked hard at both ends of the pool and it was a good overall team effort. I don’t think any one player dominated or was relied upon to win the game for us. Wests came back hard at us and it all got a bit tense towards the end, but we stayed focused and in most cases we kept to what we were trying to do at both ends of the pool. Several players from both teams played some very hard minutes and I was pleased with how we ran out the game and we will look forward to the game tomorrow against the great Fremantle team.

– Joel Dennerley (W):

Today’s game was extremely disappointing for us. We did not play our best water polo today, and Victoria were able to capitalise and secure the win. Steve Cody was our best player, doing work up and down the pool. Johnno Cotterill was again instrumental, scoring many clutch goals. Matt Sagehorn stepped up and made some huge plays to keep us in the game. And our workhorse Tommy Corcoran played his skin off yet again. Unfortunately for us, Victoria stepped up and managed to maintain the pressure on us throughout the game.

– Luke Gavin (M):

Another really hard fought win today. Going into the match we thought Wests would play a big zone as they had in their group matches. However they did play some heavy press and front which allowed us to work for our centre forwards. In the last quarter we thought the match was under control, but to west’s credit they came back at us scoring 3 quick goals. In the end we were lucky to hold on and avoid extra time.

– Stephen Cody (W):

Extremely disappointed! The one thing that cannot be done has been done. In a National League Finals game you cannot let any team get a jump on you! To finish the first quarter with a 3 – 1 score line to chase is always going to be a hard feat. Victoria plays a physical game with the size of their players and a determination that is second to none. We knew that we had to shut out their centre forwards and play up on their out side shooter in McGregor and Carpenter. Unfortunately we left our run too late in the forth quarter after letting Victoria getting a second jump on us in the third. I feel that we did not play to our expectations and all credit to Victoria for taking full advantage of this.

– Sam McGregor (M):

I was very happy with today’s win. We were able to stick to the game plan which got us over the line. Wests are a well drilled unit and won the Southern Cross trophy so it was pleasing we were able to prove to ourselves we can match it with the best. We look forward to another good composed game tomorrow.

– Alex Donovan (W):

To say this was a disappointing way for our season to end would be an understatement. Playing Victoria this afternoon was always going to be a tough match and unfortunately it wasn’t until the final quarter that we started to play our style of water polo. Full credit must go to the Victorian Tigers for their performance of tonight and I was very proud of the way the Magpies fought our way back into the match.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

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