2013 NWPL: Finals Day 2


During the current season Torpedoes had one really disappointing match. It was against Wests on home ground which they lost with a big margin, 3:10. Today’s game would have been as disheartening for them. At the beginning of the third quarter they were losing with unflattering score-line, 2:9, and the writing was on the wall. In the remaining time, Barras did just enough to maintain a sufficient margin for a comfortable win.

Barracudas’ performance throughout the season has been fluctuating – good patches were interspersed with ordinary ones. But in the first two games of the Finals the Queenslanders have shown their potential displaying intelligent and fast counter-attacking water polo dominating  in most aspects of the game. Their leader, Rhys Howden, has evolved into a versatile player who is as efficient in defence as he is dangerous in attack. His mobility and speed coupled with excellent game-reading and individual water polo specific  skills with and without the ball are the main features of his water polo profile. It is largely due to Rhys’ enthusiastic disposition and efforts that this side deservedly made it to the semi-final stage.

This team’s another influential player is Billy Miller. A trademark feature of his game has always been what is called in Australian water polo vernacular ‘cherry picking’ goals. Miller sets them up by using for his advantage opponents’ inattentiveness during attacks waiting for their passing & shooting mistakes coupled with deficiencies in awareness and decision making. I was surprised to see how many times his rivals fell into this trap in the last two matches.

The other Barracudas, BJ Howden, who has been one of the better centre-forwards at this tournament so far,  and a fast driver, Daniel Young,  are displaying strong mature performance  –  both are 21 years old – justifying their status as National squad’s members.

It will be interesting to see if the Queenslanders  will be able to maintain the same quality in their semi-final encounter with Victorian Tigers who – as today’s match showed – are gaining form and will be stronger in the remaining crucial matches.

X-man: Brisbane 10/5 (50%); Torpedoes  5/3 (60%)

Penalty: Brisbane 0; Torpedoes 3/2

Referees: Nick Hodgers and Michael Hart

Comments –

BJ Howden, Brisbane: Today’s game was always going to be tough. Similar scenario as yesterday with Wests, we had not beaten UWA in the regular season with one draw and a loss. The main focus for us heading into the game was to stick to our game plan that we so heavily relied on throughout the season, and what got us to the finals. We felt like we played 3 competitive quarters and lapsed in the third, but an overall good result with leaving the game with a win. Leading any team at halftime is always a good feeling, however knowing that there is another whole half to play anything could happen. The team maybe let in one or two goals which we would normally have defended but we pushed through and finished the game off strongly. We now put our attention to the semi final where we will face either Wests or Victoria, both will be very tough games and should be a good spectacle to watch.

Cory Nasoff, Torpedoes: Today we started off the gates slow, letting Brisbane set the pace and outmuscle us for a big lead in the first half. I’m happy that the guys weren’t discouraged and kept fighting. In the second half we made great strides in defence and were able to put shots away that we weren’t able to convert in the first half. Hopefully we can take the second half momentum and fire from this game and build on it in the medal rounds.

–  Daniel Young, Brisbane: It was another hard fought win for our team today in the second game of our finals campaign. Against an in form UWA we knew we were going to have to string together 4 quarters of good polo.  We really came together in the first half as we made an effort to control the tempo of the game and put pressure on the UWA’s defence. By the third it was evident that we got a bit to confident with the score line and took the foot of the pedal in attack. This was an error which UWA capitalized on, putting the pressure back on us to maintain our lead for the remainder of the game. We managed to regroup and life our intensity in the final quarter which saw us through to the win. UWA have always really challenged us and we would like to thank them for another tough game of good water polo.

George Ford, Torpedoes: It was a hard game today, In the first half we let the Barracudas score too many goals from two metres and didn’t convert our easy opportunities. We were happy with our second half, playing as a team we made a comeback and put pressure a lot of pressure on the Barracudas. Unfortunately our second half effort was not enough to win.

Brisbane v Torpedoes


It was a much better performance by Victorians who were in control of the game for the last 3 periods when they started to convert their goal-scoring chances winning with a comfortable 5 goals margin in the end. The Sydneysiders seemed to have difficulty handling Tigers’ sizeable centre-forwards, Matt Martin, Lachlan Edwards, Sam McGregor, Tom Woudwyk and Ryan Moody who were either scoring goals themselves or earning exclusions, or drawing perimeter defenders thus creating shooting opportunities that were converted by Englishman, Scott Carpenter, American, Tim Hutten, James Woods and Daniel Lawrence.

Magpies scored several  spectacular goals through Richard Campbell, Daniel Swinnerton,  Daniel Streets and Trent Blewitt’s shots some of which were on Melbourne keeper’s, James Stanton, conscience who was caught ‘sleeping’  in those instances.

X-man:  Melbourne 7/5 (71%);  Wests 6/1 (17%)

Referees: Nicola Johnston and Andrew Carney

The Victorians’ semi-final against Brisbane promises to be interesting as these two teams have been using somewhat different playing doctrines due to their personnel composition. In the regular season, the Melbournians won both matches – one with a big margin. But the Finals are  often a different affair, with so much at stake anything can happen.

Comments –

– Sam McGregor, Melbourne: Today was a step in the right direction for us after yesterday’s poor performance. We were more patient and controlled in attack which was a positive but still have room for improvement in defense. Wests scored 6 field goals today. We will struggle to win our next two games if we allow that many field goals. We are now looking forward to our semi final game which will be a tough contest whoever we play.

– Trent Blewitt, Wests: Today’s game was a very physical & fast encounter. We stuck with the tigers up until the 3rd-4th quarter.  We made some crucial mistakes at the business end & fell away a bit especially going away from our structures and game plan. We gave them a very good run for much of the game but they had to much experience in tight games like today which led them getting away from us at the end there.

James Woods, Melbourne: After a disappointing start to finals it was important for us as a team to respond positively.  Everyone knew physically and mentally they had to lift and we were able to do that. Wests played a smart zone forcing the ball to the left-handers side forcing us to adapt. Our centers worked hard to fatigue Richie and make him less dangerous in attack. After only scoring 4 goals yesterday we were very pleased to score 12 against a high quality goal keeper and generate plenty of counter attacks. Now we must prepare for the semi final and ensure that our hard work during the season does not go to waste.

Wests V Melbourne


As the previous two, this was also a one-sided game. Melville dominated from the start finishing the first quarter 3:0 in their favour  and eventually winning with a healthy 4 goals difference. Even though he does not train properly, Fremantle’s veteran, Tim Neesham, was on fire today setting up the ‘tone’ for the match with his skillful goals in the first half. Most other Westerners contributed well to the result, in particular Jarrod Gilchrist, Joel Swift,  James Fannon, Marco Bratic, Sam Quinn and Edward Slade.

Drummoyne’s problem was that they did not have the much needed  depth on the bench to match the opposition. Taylor Martin, Mitchell Emery  and Justin Trabinger were trying hard but did not get adequate  support from  their team-mates in this game.

X-man: Drummoyne 4/1 (25%) ; Melville  6/3 (50%)

Referees: Michael Hart and Nicola Johnston

Melville’s semi-final match with another West Australian team, UWA Torpedoes, is going to be interesting as in recent years there has been a  real competition between these two clubs for this state’s supremacy. This season’s score between them is 1-all with Torpedoes winning their match on the ‘enemy’s’  territory at the Bicton swimming pool for the first time in history.

Comments –

Tyler Martin, Drummoyne: Tonight was a very disappointing way to finish what has been an up and down season. We’ve shown throughout the season that we can match it with anyone, while at the same time struggle against some of the lower ranked teams. Unfortunately we couldn’t put it together for 4 quarters in either of our finals games. We are looking forward to finishing the season with a win tomorrow and coming back bigger and better next season.

Joel Swift, Melville: A strong start to the game built a nice lead and we were able to set up our defense and control the game. A good effort by all the boys. Now we can look forward to what will be a tough semi-final against cross-town rivals,  UWA Torpedoes.

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 2013 NWPL: Finals Day 2

  1. Ray Mayers says:

    Great reporting again Erkin, The semi finals promise to be an exciting affair, it would seem the finals “system” has worked well on this occasion with the top 4 teams progressing.

    Who are tips for the grand final after viewing the lead up games?

    • Thank you Ray. Melville and Barracudas did better than the other two semi-finalists in the preceding games. However, as history shows, it may mean nothing. Based upon the matches between all these teams so far anything might happen today.

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