2013 NWPL: Finals Day 1
May 3, 2013 8 Comments
MELBOURNE 4 : 7 MELVILLE
The first match of the series was between the winner of this year’s Regular season, Melbourne, and runner-up, Melville. These teams happened to play their last two games against each other a couple of weeks ago. Victorian Tigers won both with a 3 and 4 goals margin. But today, the picture was reversed with Fremantle Mariners winning by a 3 goals difference.
Both teams scored 3 field goals each. So the difference came from the conversion of x-man opportunities. Melville was better in this department scoring 3 from 6 whilst the Tigers converted only 1 from 5. The Westerners also were awarded a penalty shot which they realized.
Two Melville players who did not play for this club last year were outstanding in today’s match. One was a Croatian, Marko Bratic, who not only scored two field goals through the shots from ‘perimeter’ but was constantly creating dangerous situations in front of the opposition’s goals. The other was a former Melbournian, Jarrod Gilchrist, who also scored two in addition to an enormous amount of useful work he did in attack and defense. Goalkeeper, Edward Slade, and centre-forward, Joel Swift, were the other pivotal factors in Melville’s successful defensive and attacking actions.
Melbourne’s better players were James Woods and Sam McGregor but their team’s main problem was that, in general, they failed to unlock the opponent’s zone defence in addition to poor extra-man conversion. Victorian’s main weapon that they used throughout the entire regular season – namely outmuscling their opponents with powerful outside shots – did not work in this match. However, whilst today’s result may be disappointing for them, they know that nothing is lost at this stage and they can still make it to the grand-final on Sunday 5 May. Every team that won the Premiership in the previous several years has lost matches in the early stages of the Finals series.
X-man: Melbourne: 5/1 (20%), Melville: 6/3 (50%)
Penalty: Melbourne: 0, Melville: 1/1
Referees: Michael Hart & Andrew Carney
– Ryan Moody, Melbourne: We were not in form and Fremantle played a thoughtful game. Our shooting conversation rate was low and Eddie Slade played well in goals for them today. We are looking forward to improving our performance together as a team in the following games. I thought Carl Zvekan played very well for us today being composed throughout, making strong saves and spot on passes.
– Marko Bratic, Melville: Our defense won us the game. With our great goal keeper. We were pretty active in defense and we were a team helping each other and this was the key.
– Carl Zvekan, Melbourne: Today’s game was an accurate indicator of how important it is to convert a large percentage of shots. We worked hard but failed to finalize the job at hand. The game is an important wake up call for us to avoid complacency and maintain focus at all times.
– Jarrod Gilchrist, Melville: It was very physical game as it generally is between Victoria and Fremantle. We were prepared for a tough encounter and felt a physical game would suit us. The Tigers have been a great team this year, obviously going undefeated is a great achievement, however finals is a different level. We played really well as a team and our defense was a major focus. Keeping the opposition to 4 goals for the game was a fantastic effort considering their shooting power.
UWA TORPEDOES 7 : 5 DRUMMOYNE
Due to the way it was refereed, it turned out to be a very physical game and in the end a fitter Torpedoes team prevailed by outmuscling their opponents as has often been the case this season. An experienced goalkeeper, Luke Quinlivan, was another important factor in the final positive result for the winners having made several saves at crucial moments when Drummoyne had real goal-scoring chances. However, one should not be forgetting that the Torpedoes have several very young players – George Ford (19 y.o.), Nick Hughes (18), Fraser Smith (17) – who are already among the club’s leading playmakers. Americans, Cory Nasoff, Peter Sefton and Brandon Johnston have been proving all season that they are worthy acquisitions in helping the team to not only come third in the Regular season but to be a serious contender in the Finals series.
There was another youngster who impressed in this match. Drummoyne’s Justin Trabinger (18) scored 3 almost identical goals with accurate powerful shooting to keep his team in the match. Two of those were in the extra-man situations – Drummoyne’s only goals from 6 opportunities. In all those instances, Trabinger skilfully took advantage of the Westerners’ slowness in getting to the right defensive positions.
Having trailed the entire match by 2-3 goals, to their credit, the Drummoyne side displayed a fighting spirit and reduced the deficit to one goal with about 2,5 minutes to go in the match. With about 2 minutes to go, the Devils defended in a man-down situation. Had they been able to defend another one with about 1 minute to go, the end of the match could have been different. But Torpedoes’ 21 years old Henry Brown took the responsibility upon himself and scored from outside in a 3:3 extra-man attacking formation to seal an important win for his team.
X-man: Torpedoes: 10/4 (40%), Drummoyne 6/2 (33%)
Referees: Daniel Bartels and Daniel Flahive
– Adam Richardson, Drummoyne’s Head Coach: This game was typical of our season – some good patches and some horrible patches, and when it counted we were unable to stand up. We had our chances and were unable to convert goals and conceded too many easy goals where Perth where not made to earn them.
– Andrei Kovalenko, UWA Torpedoes’ Head Coach: I’m very happy, any time you get a win it’s a win and we haven’t won a finals game for nearly ten years.
WESTS 9 : 13 BRISBANE
Unlike the previous two matches it was a high-scoring game. Both teams were playing ‘open’ counter-attacking water polo and taking a lot of risks by having shots when the opposing team would have a good chance to punish if the shot was unsuccessful. That was the main reason as to why the Queenslanders jumped to a 6:2 lead by the middle of the second period.
But the very experienced Magpies found their rhythm with leaders, Richard Campbell, Daniel Swinnerton, Daniel Streets, Cory Eames and Trent Blewitt rallying their team’s impressive come-back by scoring through a number of sophisticated shots and reducing the goal difference to 1 by the middle of the last quarter.
However, the end of the match was similar to its beginning. Brisbane were able to capitalize on Wests’ mistakes that presented their opponents with 3 goal-scoring counter-attacking opportunities which the latter used to increase the goal difference to four with 2,5 minutes to go. That is when the game was virtually over. The main damage to the opposition was done by well-synchronised and skilful actions of Barracudas’ leaders, Rhys Howden, BJ Howden, Billy Miller, Daniel Young and American, Caleb Hamilton, who all contributed well to achieve the positive defensive and attacking actions at the end of the match.
X-man: Wests 11/5 (46%), Brisbane 9/4 (44%)
Referees: Nick Hodgers and David Geary
In my opinion, there were several refereeing ‘inaccuracies’, if not mistakes, in the fourth period when the teams were separated by 1-2 goals only. Those calls led to the goals that otherwise would not have been scored or counted and that affected how the match was developing in the last several minutes and final result.
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Whilst the Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre is a reasonable venue, it would have been more appropriate and fitting if the ‘flagship Australian domestic competition’s Grand-Finals of the National Water Polo League’ were held at the Sydney Olympic pool in Homebush where the conditions are much better for teams’ match preparation. There is inadequate lighting during the evening matches and uncomfortable seatings for spectators at Ryde.
There was plenty of time to organize the venue and prepare the Finals’ information booklet about the participants for public’s convenience. Yet the data is missing not only about some individuals but entire teams.