Five Sydney Uni women’s water polo Lions representatives have been selected in the women’s National Water Polo League (NWPL) All Star game to be played at the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre on Sunday April 13. The game will take place on the final day of the 14 & Under Girl’s National Club Championships.
Team captain Keesja Gofers is joined by the versatile Sarah Harris, left-hander Isobel Bishop, centre forward Gi Clarke and youngster Bronte Halligan in the North Team that will play South in the annual event.
Two Lions currently in the Australian Stingers squad, goalkeeper Lea Yanitsas and centre back Hannah Buckling were not considered due to injuries.
The selection is particularly pleasing for Clarke who missed the whole of last season with a shoulder injury and is a reward for her diligence and hard work in her rehabilitation program and comeback.
Halligan is also on the comeback trail after missing six weeks with a broken finger.
The Lions all but assured themselves of an NWPL finals birth with three victories last week. On Thursday they travelled to Drummoyne to beat the Devils 11-7; on Friday the Cronulla Sharks put on a determined performance before Sydney Uni came away 8-5 winners; and on Sunday the Lions were too strong for the visiting Hunter Hurricanes 9-5.
The Lions now have a 12-2 record with eight regular season games to play. The 12 win mark is normally the benchmark for reaching the finals.
Coach Ian Trent said, “It’s great to reach 12 wins and probably not be part of the pressure-cooker final games of the season where the last finals births are decided.
From experience that is a very nervy time of the season. It’s no time to relax but the girls have worked hard to get where they are and we appreciate Stingers coach Greg McFadden rewarding them with All Star selection.”
The Lions will have to continue their campaign minus US international Jillian Kraus who has returned home after a guest stint at Sydney Uni. However her loss has been countered by the return of Buckling, who now makes a steady comeback from serious shoulder problems.
The Lions travel to Dawn Fraser Baths on Saturday to meet the Balmain Tigers in the special Cancer Charity Day at 2.30pm and then make the trek up the M2 on Sunday for a 1.30pm rendezvous with the Hunter Hurricanes at Lambton.