Graham Croker

Sydney University Lions finished the 2011 National Water Polo League with a bronze medal in the men’s competition and a fifth-placed ranking in the women’s league at the end of the five-day finals series played at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

After finishing the season proper in second place behind the minor premiers, Fremantle Mariners, Sydney University men opened the finals series with a 9-8 win over fifth-placed Brisbane Barracudas.

They then fought a tough 13-all draw in their quarter-final clash with third-placed UNSW-Wests Magpies to advance to a semi-final against Victorian Tigers.

The Tigers held on to win the semi-final 8-7 and move to a gold medal game against Fremantle, while Sydney University were left to fight out the bronze medal match against Queensland Breakers.

The Mariners finished with the minor and major premierships after accounting for the Tigers 9-8 in the final, while Sydney University finished third with a 19-11 win over the Breakers.

In the Women’s National League, Sydney University scraped into the finals in sixth place and came up against minor premiers Cronulla Sharks in the qualifying final.

The Sharks lived up to their ranking with a 15-8 win over Sydney University, who then lost their 4th v 6th match 13-7 to the Queensland Breakers.

In the play-off for rankings, the Lions lost 12-11 to the Fremantle Marlins, before defeating Queensland Breakers 11-10 in the 5th v 6th match.


Men’s and Women’s National League Finals at SOPAC

Men: Qualifying final (2 v 5): Sydney University 9 d Brisbane Barracudas 8.

Quarter-final (2 v 3): Sydney University 13 drew with UNSW-Wests Magpies 13.

Semi-final: Victorian Tigers 8 d Sydney University 7.

Bronze medal play-off: Sydney University 19 d Queensland Breakers 11.

Women: Qualifying final (1 v 6): Cronulla Sharks 15 d Sydney University 8.

Quarter final (4 v 6): Queensland Breakers 13 d Sydney University 7.

Ranking play-off (B2 v A3): Fremantle Marlins 12 d Sydney University 11.

Ranking play-off (5 v 6): Sydney University 11 d Queensland Breakers 10.