2012 NWPL: Finals Bronze medals match
April 29, 2012 Leave a comment
Because, naturally, both teams were aiming to be in the Grand-Final, it would not have been easy for the athletes to motivate themselves. But one of the features of this season’s National League is a significantly increased level of professionalism that most teams now display. To their credit, the Lions and Magpies favoured the crowd with an enjoyable treat of good water polo that kept all spectators on the edge of their seats for the entire match that went into extra-time with the outcome not known until the very last second.
For Sydney University’s Alastair Visch it was his 400th National League match over 15 odd years which is a big achievement in itself. I remember coaching Alastair since he was 13 years old until maturity, including when he was a candidate to the Australian National team. He has always been a decent man and a pleasure to coach. Well done Alastair!
It was a goal-for-goal match throughout with either team not going ahead by a bigger margin than two goals. Lachlan Hollis, Tom Kearns and Scott Nicholson skilfully concluded 3 from 4 SU’s extra-man combinations in the first half of the game. Hollis also scored the first counter-attack goal at the beginning of the match.
Wests’ Richard Campbell scored twice, Johnno Cotterill and Thomas Corcoran responded adequately with their strong goals to finish first half at 4-all.
It was Wests who started to edge ahead in the third quarter through an extra-man goal by Corrie Eames and a perimeter shot by Campbell. Experienced Trent Franklin scored two smart field goals to send the match into extra-time.
Wests won the first additional 3 minute period through two counter-attack goals; one by Johnno Cotterill and the second by Daniel Swinnerton. Sydney Uni reduced the margin to one goal in the extra-period when American, Zac White, scored a strong centre-forward goal. With 20 seconds to go Wests defended in a man-down situation when it mattered most to deservedly win the Bronze medal.
X-man: Wests 5/2 SU 6/3
Referees: Adam Richardson and Nicola Johnston
Referee’s comment –
– Adam Richardson:
It was a tough game which when looking back was very heavy which in the extra time periods became a wrestling match rather than a water polo game and I have to take responsibility for this. In the end the best team won.
Players’ comments –
– Thomas Whalan (SU):
Although we lost the Bronze medal I was extremely happy with our team’s performance. We did make individual defensive errors however as an overall effort I was extremely proud of the team. We’ve been inconsistent over the season however to play 3 out of 4 great games in the finals showed our true potential which was rewarding. Congratulations to Wests for a hard fought victory; a team I believe should have been playing in the grand Final. Was also an honour to play alongside Ali Visch in his 400th and final National League game for Sydney Uni Lions.
– Richard Campbell (W):
Although playing for the Bronze medal wasn’t what our campaign was set out to be we went into the game determined to win. In the first quarter Sydney Uni stunned us with two quick goals early to set up a tough chase for us. We knew if we stuck to our game plan we would more than likely get back into the game. Credit to both teams as it was a physical encounter and we knew that our defence, and the Magpie supporting crew in the extra time periods would get us through with the W.
– Lachlan Hollis (SU):
This was not the finish I was hoping for especially due to how we progressed on Thursday. We were great in patches of the game however we were unable to string 4 good quarters together. During extra time we had a lapse in the first period allowing for two easy goals, Zach White helped us regain some momentum but we were unable to convert an excellent opportunity with a xman attack in the final 22 seconds. Wests were able to convert in crutial periods which was the difference between the two teams today.
– Johnno Cotterill (W):
It is always a difficult game to play for 3rd place when we had the ultimate aim of winning the title. It was a very physical game with very few exclusions and this kept the scoreline low and close. Thankfully we grinded out the game and finished with a medal. Congratulation to the Magpie team for making a big statement this year and playing some brilliant water polo, it was just a disappointing finish. Also congratulations to Ali Visch on his 400 games, it is an amazing achievement for a great person.
– Trent Franklin (SU):
With Ali Visch playing his 400th game it was a highly charged game. Our game involved pressuring the opposition’s centre forwards. Ultimately it became a heavy game and the referees did well to keep the game in check. The team did well to contain the Wests counter attack. Ultimately our experience kept us in the game equalising at 6-6. Unfortunately a couple of quick goals by Wests in extra time on fast breaks was the difference.