NSW men win Australian 2013 under-20 championships
January 29, 2013 2 Comments
In the final match against Western Australia, New South Wales achieved its desired result, 9 : 8, by winning the last period with the score 3 : 0. This was not the first time the winning team was behind with a two-goal deficit. At one stage in the third quarter the score was 7 : 5 in WA’s favour whilst during the rest of the match most of the time they led by a goal.
By the end of the third period it looked like the Westerners would win the match, particularly when one of NSW’s leading playmakers, Paul Sindone, had to be replaced due to receiving his third personal foul. On the other hand though, a leading WA’s player, Luca Altieri, was also out of the game due to three personal mistakes and that made a tangible difference to the team.
To NSW’s credit they kept going and proved to be better by both creating goal-scoring chances as well as converting some of them. What made the difference in the end was axiomatic: NSW did convert two crucial extra-man opportunities whilst WA failed to both defend and score when they had their chances in those standard situations.
New South Welshman, Matthew Hannan, had one of his best matches that I have seen him play. His three goals out of total four resulted from sophisticated shots that required a mature decision-making as well as execution. Those goals not only kept his team in the match but also became adornments of the match.
The winning team’s players, Gordon Marshall and Nathan Power, did a good job in the pivotal and demanding centre-forward and centre-back positions playing the entire match without replacement. They along with talented Matthew Skinner come from regional water polo schools, namely from the Central Coast/Newcastle areas. Their first coaches were Fergus Bennie, Daniel Robinson and Mitchel Baird. Currently, they are coached by Daniel Marsden who himself was one of the best Australian players ever.
As always, Anthony Hrysanthos was very reliable in the goals and made a difference when it mattered. All other NSW players showed solid skills and understanding of the game.
The winning team’s veteran coach, Les Kay, must be credited for the achieved result. His methods of team preparation towards the tournament and management during the matches again proved to be successful like many times before. Congratulation to Les and his team!
The young Western Australian team had a good tournament and displayed many instances of quality water polo. Congratulations on the achieved result should go to the coaching staff led by Paul Oberman. However, credit also must be given to Olympic games Bronze medallist, Andrei Kovalenko, who has had a direct involvement in the development of WA’s athletes, Nick Hughes, Fraser Smith, Tom Sangster, goalkeeper Josh Zekulich, and one of the tournament’s better players, George Ford. All above-mentioned players are likely to be playing for the Perth Torpedos National League side this season. Andrei’s other chargers were Elliott James, Davis Verboon and Jordan Kremers-Taylor who moved to the Melville club some time ago.
My overall impression of the tournament is that Australian water polo athletes of this age group are displaying good quality water polo with solid technical and tactical skills. There are well founded reasons to expect good results by the Australian team on the international arena; the coaches nowadays have much better prepared athletes available for selection as well as more choice of quality athletes than 10-20 years ago.
– Les Kay, NSW Head Coach: As the final score 9 – 8 indicates it was very hard fought encounter. The Blues had to come from 2 goals behind on two occasions the last one being down 6 – 8 going into the 4th quarter but then scoring three goals to nil. The team played to the structure required to win tight encounters and are to be congratulated.I thought the referring was very good as it was consistent which is what all teams and coaches appreciate.
– Matt Hannan, NSW: It was an awesome feeling to win especially in front of a home crowd. This was my last year as a junior NSW state representative and as we have been successful every year in our age group none of the boys wanted lose. It was great to see the boys step up in the last quarter coming from behind to win the game.
– Paul Sindone, NSW: The 2013 edition of the National u/20 Mens tournament was somewhat two-tiered, hence the blow-out in some of the scores. This gave some teams the opportunity to practice some of their set plays and other teams a chance to work on their defensive structures. Overall, I thought the standard of the games was similar to past years, with the inclusion of the New Zealand u/20 team being a bonus for the tournament. The final was a hard fought affair which was reflected in the scores. WA played outstanding water polo considering their very young team – they were well organised and were unlucky not to take the spoils. Congratulations to all the states for making this a memorable experience.
– Paul Oberman, WA Head Coach: It was another good learning experience for my team. To be leading by two goals at three quarter time was excellent, but we must learn to be able to put the game away – grind it out! Four individual mistakes in the final quarter gave NSW the opportunities they required and they punished us on the scoreboard. We must play with a cooler, smarter head in these situations. A big turning point in the game during the last quarter was when Luca Altieri, very unluckily got his third foul. The team on the bench made a huge sigh and I thought this was not the reaction we should make, then shoulders dropped and I thought we lost the belief in ourselves.
– George Ford, WA: It was a great game with lots of ups and downs. I am very pleased with my teams effort all week and unfortunately we couldn’t get over the line in the final. Our team defense was great all week, especially after getting feedback from Ratko Rudic. We did a great defensive job for three and bit quarters in the final, but couldn’t fully concentrate for the final minutes to get the win.
– Luca Altieri, WA: That was tough, we scored some great goals but couldn’t hold them out. Congrats to NSW on the win. We fought very hard and felt the game was ours, but their first two goals in the last quarter gave them much needed energy and belief and we couldn’t pick ourselves back up.