Sydney Uni Lions claim maiden NWPL victory

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Sydney University women’s water polo club have made history winning their first ever National Water Polo League (NWPL) women’s title after defeating the 2015 champions, the Brisbane Barracudas, 12-8 on Sunday, March 13.

Co-captained by Rio hopefuls Keesja Gofers and Lea Yanitsas, the Lions clawed their way to gold after trailing 2-5 at halftime in Melbourne.

Hannah Buckling, SUSF 2014 female Blue of the year, scored 5 goals in the game to win the Pat Jones medal for MVP of the finals, while Gofers, who contributed a solid 3 goals, earnt selection in the Season All Star team.

Finishing the regular season in second position, just 4 points behind Brisbane, this maiden victory erased the Lion’s 2015 grand final penalty shootout heartbreak in Sydney.

“We are on top of the world! We redeemed ourselves from last year and we are so happy to come home with the trophy,” said Gofers.

Boasting five members of the Aussies Stingers squad (Keesja Gofers, Lea Yanitsas, Hannah Buckling, Isobel Bishop and Bronte Halligan), the strong performance also puts the Sydney Uni contenders in good stead to secure final Olympic squad selection.  

Co-coaches Alicia Smith and Debbie Watson did an amazing job in coaching the girls all season, while Sue Trent managed the team superbly. The girls and the club are also indebted to the Operations Manager of the women’s and men’s clubs, Ian Trent, and Club President Simon Lewis who have poured hours of time and effort into achieving this result over several years.

Not to be overlooked, Sydney Uni Men took out the Southern Cross Trophy for winning the 2015/16 minor premiership and finished a creditable third in the finals series. Congratulations to everyone involved in the men’s club, and in particular to President Antony Green who has been instrumental in making huge gains for the men’s club in recent years. 

When combined, Sydney Uni’s two water polo clubs won the prestigious Peter Kerr trophy for the club championship as the most successful National Water Polo League club for the 2015-16 season.

Congratulations to the women’s team on their extraordinary success, the men’s and women’s teams on winning the national club championship, and best of luck to all Olympic hopefuls in their campaigns to make Rio.


Sydney University Lions 12 (H Buckling 5, K Gofers 3, I Bishop 2, E Lewis and T Bogg 1) def. Brisbane Barracudas (A Southern 4, A Sieprath 3, K Gynther 1)