17.06.2008 – Graham Croker

Each of Sydney University’s men’s water polo representatives scored goals in Australia’s 21-nil win over Egypt in the opening match of the FINA World Super League tournament being played in Genoa, Italy.

Skipper Thomas Whalan, Trent Franklin, Rob Maitland and Sam McGregor scored goals as the Aussie Sharks completely outplayed Egypt, the African qualifier for the Super League.

Power shooter Pietro Figlioli top-scored with three goals, while seven other players netted twice. The Sharks scored five from five on extra as they dominated all facets of play.

The Sharks won their first World League bronze medal last year and are expected to be a major threat after winning the Asia-Oceania zone to qualify. They are drawn in the same half of the 10-team draw with reigning champion Serbia.

Just off a series win over US, the Sharks are drawn to play Olympic qualifier Canada, followed by world No. 6 Greece, and then Serbia.

If the Sharks go unbeaten until the clash with Serbia, they should shoot for a medal in the semi-finals against either Montenegro or Spain, the standout teams in the other half of the draw.

Sharks head coach John Fox is not daunted by the task ahead of his team. “Our ultimate aim is the Olympic Games but this gives me a chance to assess my team and finalise the 13 players for Beijing,” he says.

In the other Group B match, reigning champion Serbia made hard work of beating an under-strength Greek team 10-9.

In Group A, World League newcomer Montenegro breezed past Spain 15-7, while Italy needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome the US 15-14 after Italy tied the match 10-10 in the dying seconds.
Australia’s next pool match will be Canada tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Sydney University’s women water polo representatives, Taniele Gofers and Nikita Cuffe won bronze medals when Australia finished third at the FINA World League Super tournament played at Tenerife, Spain.

Australia earned a fourth consecutive medal at a major championship since their World Cup success in 2006 in China.

The Aussie Stingers beat Canada 7-6 to claim the bronze medal after not making the final yesterday when their win in a penalty shoot-out against Russia was not enough for them to earn a place in the final.

Canada upset Australia in the rounds and that came back to haunt them against Russia. Canada opened the scoring and held the lead for the first quarter as Australia wasted too many scoring opportunities.

Australia finally got on the board with Gofers extra in the second term before Canada responded with their own extra man. Mia Santoromito evened up the game at 2-2 with a booming bounce shot from the right wing after a good cross pass from Amy Hetzel.

The third quarter started with a quick ball to Gemma Beadsworth at centre forward and she converted with a sharp shot to put Australia ahead for the first time.

Canada hit back straight away with a deflection shot before a Bronwen Knox penalty put Australia ahead again. Canada equalised again with a goal from extra before a Suzie Fraser goal in extra gave the lead back to Australia.

However, Canada responded with another extra to have the scores locked up at 5-5 heading into the last quarter.

A Knox counter attack early in the fourth term put the score back out to one, but Canada fought back with another extra man goal to level it again. Missed opportunities by both teams saw the score remain locked until Beadsworth, Australia’s player of the tournament, scored a lob in extra with 2.20 remaining.

Canada called a timeout with 14 seconds left and fortunately Australia’s defence held.

Australia 7 (Gemma Beadsworth 2, Bronwen Knox 2, Mia Santoromito 1, Suzie Fraser 1, Taniele Gofers 1) d Canada 6.