Strong start for Men’s water polo

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The Sydney University Men’s Water Polo team kicked off their National Water Polo League (NWPL) season over the weekend, recording wins in 3 of their 4 opening round matches.

It was an arduous first round test for the Lions as they played four away games in four consecutive days in Brisbane. They matched up against the KFC Queensland Breakers then the Brisbane Barracudas, then Breakers and Barracudas again, stretching from Thursday 19thNovember to Sunday 22nd November.

The Lions got off to a great start on the trip with a resounding first up win in the 2015/16 NWPL season, defeating the KFC Queensland Breakers 20-6. It was a physical match, highlighted by the hefty number of ejections, with two Queensland players rolled. It was a great night for the under 20 players in the team, as James Butcher and Cody Ingram both netted their first National League goals, as well as Wil Cotterill picking up two to add to his first goal last season.

The following match up on the Friday night would prove to be a much tougher challenge as the boys faced off against the reigning champion Brisbane Barracudas, a team that beat the Lions in last season’s NWPL grand-final. In what was a close encounter, the Lions managed to come back from 9-5 down to level at 10 each with just minutes remaining. Unfortunately however Sydney Uni went down in a titanic struggle against the Barracudas, losing 11-10. Rhys Howden was massive for the Barracudas as he scored 5 goals while for the Sydney Uni boys Jeremy Davie scored 3 goals, Chaz Poot, Trent Franklin and Chris Dyson all had 2, and Tom Kearns added 1.

The boys then came up against the KFC Queensland Breakers again on the Saturday. Similar to their first round meeting the Lions were able to pull away with a victory, defeating the Breakers 17-11 in an entertaining match.

In their last game of the Brisbane road trip the Lions avenged their earlier loss to the Brisbane Barracudas, defeating the defending champs 8-5. The three goal victory was a vast improvement from their one goal loss on Friday night, especially defensively. These two teams both look set to figure heavily in the NWPL season finals again this year.

Overall it was a satisfying opening round road trip for the Lions, winning 3 out of 4 matches and knocking off the defending champs. However, gradual improvement will be needed throughout the season if the boys want to better last year’s result to reach the teams ultimate goal of Gold in the 2015/16 NWPL season.

The star-studded Sydney University Women’s Water Polo team will open their season this coming weekend. The girls will meet the UTS Balmain Tigers in the Clash of the Cats at Dawn Fraser Baths on Saturday, November 28th at 1pm, with the men’s game commencing after at 2.15pm. The first home game for both Men’s & Women’s Sydney Uni Lions teams is a double-header on Sunday December 6th, in the Peter Montgomery Pool at the Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre. The women start at 2pm as they host the UNSW Wests Killer Whales, with the men following at 3.15pm against UNSW Wests Magpies.

The National Water Polo League (NWPL) is Australia’s premier domestic water polo competition. 12 clubs compete in the annual event which comprises of both a men’s and women’s competition. Sydney University’s Men’s & Women’s teams are on the right trajectory for big 2015/16 seasons having finished third (bronze) in both competitions in the 2013/14 season and second (silver) in both competitions in the 2014/15 season.

We hope to see as many supporters as possible at both the Men’s and Women’s games this weekend at the Dawn Fraser Baths on Saturday at 1pm, and we wish both teams the best of luck in their seasons. GO USYD!