The OVO Australian Water Polo League, returned on the weekend for its 30th year, as teams from Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia lined up to compete in the country’s premier Water Polo competition.
In a clash of the Cats, competing for the Grant Simms Cup in Round 1, the Sydney Uni Lions were up against the UTS Balmain Tigers. The Sydney Uni Men’s team began their title defence without skipping a beat, comfortably defeating the Tigers 9-4.
Goran Tomasevic and Thomas Kearns were impressive in the opener with three goals apiece. The group were also defensively sound throughout the match, only allowing their opponents 4 goals in the entire match.
For the Lion’s Women, who were finalists in 2018, the start to their 2019 campaign was tough, suffering a 19-3 loss to UTS Balmain. The loss of a few key players this season, including Aussie Stingers Hannah Buckling and Keeja Gofers has meant the Lions have lost some invaluable experience. However, the Lions have kept some great talent including current Stingers, Isobel Bishop and Dani Morrissey who will be able to pass on their experience to players such as Ellie Negline, Zsofia Polak and Chelsea Clarke who made their National League debut at the weekend.
Buckling and Gofers are currently unavailable this season for the Lions as they playing professionally in Europe for Greek power house, Olympiacos. In late January, Olympiacos celebrated qualification to the quarter finals of the women’s water polo Euroleague, meaning they are ranked in the top eight teams in Europe.
Back in Australia, the Lions Men’s and Women’s sides will have their work cut out for them in Round 2 of the AWL with four games across the week all at home. The first match of the round is on Tuesday 5th February against the UWA Torpedoes at the Peter Montgomery Pool (Sydney Uni Sports & Aquatic Centre). The Women start at 8pm, with the Men to follow at 9:30pm. They also have home games on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. For the full HOME SCHEDULE click HERE.