2012 NWPL: Finals Gold medals match

Victorian Tigers 9 : 11 Fremantle Mariners

When the teams lined up, there were a lot of similarities between the two. Both have sizeable, tall and strong looking centre-forwards and centre-backs – Melville with Jamie Beadsworth, Joel Swift, Tim Cleland and Sam Quinn; Melbourne with Ryan Moody, Matt Martin, Sam McGregor, Tomas Bruder and Scott Carpenter.

Both teams also have lighter but intelligent and skilful drivers with good individual skills. Apart from these similarities in the way they move and shoot, Melbourne’s James Woods and Melville’s Daniel Lawrence even have somewhat similar – one could say brotherly – looks.

The return of triple Olympian, Tim Neesham, to help his team in the Finals even though he has not been training properly for several years was certainly noticable through his overall experienced actions as well as the goals that he scored at crucial moments in all matches.

It was an interesting spectacle with a scenario worthy of the Grand-Final during the first three quarters. Melville completely outplayed its opponents in the first period 5:1.

Daniel Lawrence took full advantage of the opportunities when his opponents gave him the time and space to execute his shots due to the actions by centre-forwards, Jamie Beadsworth and Joel Swift. That match demonstrated that Lawrence has one of the more lethal shots among the Australian players. His delayed baulking whilst coming up high during the shooting action and apparent difficulty for the goalkeepers in detecting the timing of ball release from his palm as well as shot direction are the main ingredients of his shooting technique. James Woods has a similar shooting prowess that he successfully used on many occasions throughout the season as well as in this match.

Lawrence’s 3 goals were complemented by Tim Cleland’s penalty conversion and Joel Swift’s extra-man goal.

In turn, it was Melbourne who completely outplayed their opponents in the second period 5:1 to bring the score at 6-all by half time. Slovakian, Tomas Bruder, took the initiative and fortified it by powerful shooting scoring 3 times in addition to the two action goals by James Woods, Blake Edwards and penalty conversion by Sam McGregor.

The decisive last quarter started with a 9:8 score in Melville’s favour, whose leaders in Tim Cleland and Daniel Lawrence scored one more each to extend their team’s lead to 11:8. Melbourne had 3 power-play opportunities to possibly do what they did in the second quarter to even up the match but they failed to take that advantage. With 1.45 minutes to go James Woods’ clever shot reduced the goal difference to 2 but subsequent Melbourne attacks choked without creating any real chances in the remaining time.

Congratulations to Fremantle Mariners on winning the 2012 National League’s title!

Congratulations must also go to Victorian Tigers and their coach, Jeff Barrow, for the good water polo they played in the Finals series to finish as runners up!

X-man: Melbourne 10/4 Melville 9/6
Penalty: Melbourne 0 Melville 1/1
Referees: Andrew Carney and Daniel Flahive

Referee’s comments –

– Andrew Carney:

It was an old fashioned tough game of water polo played by two teams that left nothing to chance and played to win.

Coaches and players’ comments –

– Jeff Barrow, Head-Coach (VT):

Whilst making the GF was a strong effort by the players I felt we let ourselves down. It was a very winnable game and we should have performed better. Fremantle performed very well but I honestly felt that we should have done better. We fought hard to get back in to the game after a poor start but I also felt that inconsistent refereeing decisions did not assist us. It is a continuing problem with our sport and the inability to interpret the Centre Forward/Center Back play is a problem with our sport and I would anticipate hinders our development internationally.

Congratulations to Fremantle on securing the title.

My personal view is that Wests were the best team throughout the season and the format of the finals gave them no advantage going in to the finals. Wests only lost one game by one goal which was the best overall performance of all the teams, yet secured only third place. It does not make sense not does it seem just!

– Peter Arancini, Head-Coach (FM):

We got off to a very good start with some clean passing and outside shooting. Our defensive structure worked well for the first quarter and really built platform for our attack. Given the class of the Victorian team I was not surprised by the second quarter turn-around. They placed us under a lot more pressure and subsequently clawed their way back in to the game. The third and fourth quarters went goal for goal with both teams squandering various goal scoring opportunities. As seems standard in today’s game it was a very physical affair with both teams employing various tactics to gain the upper hand. I thought overall we timed our run to the finals reasonably well. We had an indifferent year with some very average perfromances which saw all the fair weather critics voice their uneducated opinions, so to win a competition is a credit to the players and all those involved with the team and the Melville water polo club.

– Jamie Beadsworth (FM):

We have been a touch inconsistent this year but we knew if we could put it together we were capable of winning the league. Today was clearly the best we have played all season and I’m happy we produced that performance when it was required.

– Sam McGregor (VT):

Congratulations to Fremantle. They played a great game today and deserved to win.  We are very disappointed with the loss. After playing a great team game the last two days it was a shame we were not able to stick to the game plan today.

– Daniel Lawrence (FM):

 Thanks to Victorian Tigers for giving us a real hard fought game.

26 players went to war today and fortunately we held on in the end.

Congratulations to the boys on a great win and we will be

back next year with a new brand of backyard water polo.

– James Woods (VT):

It was a great effort from the team to make the final after starting our campaign off so poorly against Sydney Uni. We overcame a fit Barracudas team and a well drilled Wests. In saying that Fremantle showed their strength and why they have made so many consecutive finals. You can never win a final coming from 5-1 down at quarter time, we gave it our best after that but it was too late. Disappointing to not win the last match of the season but 2nd place is still something we can be proud of. Thanks Erkin. I really enjoy reading your blog and watched the Aus v Croatia game last night.

– Tim Cleland (FM):

Firstly congrats to everyone involved in finals series. It was of a tremendous standard and hard fought. To Victoria commiserations to you, you took it right up to us and made sure we earnt it. We were criticized on this very website for traditionally not having the fitness… I would like to thank you Erkin for providing us with ammunition to prove the doubters like yourself wrong. It’s always a tough and very physical contest with Victoria and you end the game knowing you’ve played. To my team mates lets not rest on this season back to back was hard but a three peat will be even harder and the training for that starts tomorrow. Lastly thank you to AWPI for putting on this event!

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

2 Responses to 2012 NWPL: Finals Gold medals match

  1. Mark Grooby says:

    Having watched the match, I felt a big reason Fremantle were able to create pressure was they had stronger CF’s. Beadsworth and Cleland (the latter a part time CF) worked very hard and were rewarded by the refs. The game is based around strong, mobile and hard working CF’s to obtain exclusions. Tigers missed critical XMAN opps and giving up a large start is never esay. Bottom line, Freo played better on the day and the teams are very even, although have different styles of play. The Tigers had an excellent 2 matches prior to the GF and had probably run their race. Having not seen a Nt Lg final for a number of yrs the CF is the key based on the may the game is ajudicated. This was also evident at the Olympics were you really need min 2 massive CF’s to play these positions and on the xman post. Let’s look for the 6 ft 6 CF’s

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