Water Polo world championships 2022: Stingers defeat Brazil to earn spot in the quarterfinal

Another winning performance in the pool has secured the Aussie Stingers a spot in the Water Polo World Championships quarterfinal. DETAILS here

A dominant 17-5 win over Brazil has leapfrogged the Aussie Stingers into the quarterfinal at the Water Polo World Championships – coach Paul Oberman just hopes they can go one step further than they did at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Stingers progressed through the pool games in Tokyo last year before being knocked out in the quarterfinals and missing a chance to play for a medal.

But the new-look team, with new coach Oberman at the helm are yet to drop a game at the tournament.

Their winning form continued overnight with a 17-5 win over Brazil – putting them on top of their pool.

Oberman said he was really proud of his team for the effort they displayed.

“We kept on creating the opportunities, we just need to make sure we convert those opportunities,” Oberman said.

“Defensively it was a really good game, I’m quite happy with the way that we’re playing.

“If we continue in this way, we’ll go a long way in this tournament,” he said.

Olympian Amy Ridge said winning three games in a row was a big confidence boost.

“We’re really excited to get the win today, and topped our pool here in Sopron,” Ridge said.

“We’ve finished our job here, and what we set out to do – we’re excited to move to Budapest and onwards towards the quarterfinal,” she said.

The Stingers will play the winner of Hungary and Argentina.

The Aussie men’s team, the Sharks, will play their final pool game against USA on Sunday at 3.30am (AEST).

GOOD AS GOLD: LOSS WON’T SHAKE SHARKS’ CONFIDENCE

The Aussie Sharks went down to reigning Olympic gold medallists Serbia by one goal at the World Championships but coach Tim Hamill couldn’t be prouder of his team.

Serbia, who are competing in Budapest with a mostly unchanged team from their Tokyo Olympic campaign, now sit on top of the pool D competition following the 6-5 win over the Aussies.

Head Coach Tim Hamill.
Head Coach Tim Hamill.

Sharks and team USA are tied in second and third with one win and a loss each.

The match between the Aussies and Serbia was a close one with the scores level at 5-5 at the end of the third quarter.

But it was Serbia who were able to find the winning shot with just three minutes left on the clock.

Hamill said despite the results not going their way, he couldn’t fault the boys’ efforts.

“While it’s disappointing to lose the game, our effort and our intent throughout was incredible,” Hamill said.

Luke Pavillard.
Luke Pavillard.
Reilly Dann Townsend, Vedran Cirkovic, John Hedges, Andrew Yanitsas, Timothy Francis.
Reilly Dann Townsend, Vedran Cirkovic, John Hedges, Andrew Yanitsas, Timothy Francis.

“We had a number of players play really big minutes and were really proud of them.

“From here we play the Americans and then that match will determine who we play in the crossover rounds.”

The Sharks will next face USA on Sunday at 3.30am (AEST).

USA are coming off a strong Olympics campaign where they finished sixth, three places ahead of Australia. With a mostly unchanged squad they will be strong competition for the Sharks.

The Aussie women are up next taking on Brazil at 2am (AEST) on Saturday. The teams last met at the Intercontinental Cup in March – Australia finished ahead 17-2.

OLYMPIAN LEAVES MARK IN STINGERS ROUT

Sharp shooting Olympian Bronte Halligan has helped launch the Aussie Stingers to the top of their pool after thumping New Zealand 11-2 at the Water polo World Championships overnight.

Halligan, who was a star in the pool at Tokyo, continued her fine form, netting all three of her shots on goal in Budapest overnight.

The win puts the Aussies safely on top of the ladder as the only team in their pool to win both of their games.

Halligan’s performance earned her the player of the match award.

“It was a really good game today – we got up early and managed to hold on to the lead,” Halligan said.

Bronte Halligan starred for the Stingers.
Bronte Halligan starred for the Stingers.

“It was a really fast-paced game which was also a really nice challenge.

“We played our style, which we’ve been wanting to do this entire tournament, so it was a really good second hit out.”

Australia dominated from the start securing a 7-2 lead by half time.

The two points were the only goals keeper Gabi Palm let slip through – saving six other shots.

New Zealand’s keepers Jessica Milicich and Bridget Layburn hardly got a break with the Stingers firing a total of 20 shots at them.

Aussie coach Paul Oberman said he was impressed with the team’s efforts.

“We managed to keep up a good and fast pace throughout, but our main focus was on defence,” Oberman said.

Bronte Halligan in action.
Bronte Halligan in action.

“We wanted to really limit the opportunities that they had and for us to run and stun a little bit.”

The women will next face Brazil at 2am (AEST) on Saturday. The teams last met at the Intercontinental Cup in March – Australia finished ahead 17-2.

Our Aussie men, the Sharks, will be in action at 2am (AEST) tomorrow against Tokyo gold medallists Serbia.

ROOKIE KEEPER’S HEROICS LEAD AUSSIES TO WIN

Rookie Aussie Sharks goalkeeper Nic Porter has helped the men escape their first round World Championships clash with Kazakhstan relatively unscathed.

Porter, 23, saved seven of the 10 shots fired towards his cage, before making way for fellow keeper John Hedges in the final quarter.

The 10-4 win over Kazakhstan, in Budapest, shot the Aussie’s to the top of their pool’s table.

Luke Pavillard and Nathan Power proved unstoppable in front of the cage – scoring three goals each.

Porter described the team’s efforts as brave.

“First and foremost I think we were really brave, there was nine of us making our World Championships debut,” Porter said.

“We were really brave in defence, lots of great field blocks — we were able to identify their better players quickly and nullify them which was good.

“It’s not just me putting in the hard work, it’s our whole defensive line up. The guys in the field were doing their job, I was doing my job and it just worked really well tonight.”

Australian men’s water polo keeper Nic Porter.
Australian men’s water polo keeper Nic Porter.

It was a slow start with the Sharks finishing the first quarter ahead 1-0.

They put another two away in the second quarter, with the score 4-0 at halftime.

Kazakhstan found a way into the game in the third quarter scoring two goals to Australia’s three.

Australia's Blake Edwards.
Australia's Blake Edwards.

But the opposition were unable to keep it up in the final quarter letting the Sharks in three more times.

Aussie men’s coach Tim Hamill said it was a great performance.

“With so many players on debut, there were a few nerves before the game,” Hamill said.

“But pleasingly our defence in the first quarter set up a solid performance for us, and an eventual 10-4 win.

“It was a solid performance for all of our players, and everyone managed to get minutes which is important at this stage of the tournament.

“We’re looking forward to the next couple of games against Serbia and USA.”

The strong win puts Sharks at the top of their pool after Serbia won a close battle with the USA 17-14.

Sharks will next play Tokyo gold medal winners Serbia, at 2am (AEST) on June 24.

The Aussie women will play New Zealand at 2am (AEST) on Thursday.

BABY SHARKS DON’T FEAR WATER POLO SUPERPOWERS

With the USA and Tokyo Olympic gold medallists Serbia in their pool the new-look Aussie Sharks have a tough task ahead of them at worlds — but it is one rookies Chaz Poot and Nic Porter say they can handle.

The Australian men’s water polo team has undergone a big revamp since bowing out of the Tokyo Olympics in the group stage.

Tim Hamill has taken over as coach and a number of experienced players retired — paving the way for a new enthusiastic group of young men to make their mark at the World Championships in Hungary this week.

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Chaz Poot has overcome serious multiple stress fractures in his back.
Chaz Poot has overcome serious multiple stress fractures in his back.

Poot, 23, did not take the traditional route to the Sharks team.

He took up the sport as a seven-year-old playing for Newington College but was never selected in a state team. Poot was spotted by a national coach and competed in the Junior World Championships in 2016.

While he was later elevated to the Sharks squad he never got to play a game sustaining multiple stress fractures in his back.

“I think it was just a bit of everything. I was working, growing at the same time and playing water polo so I can’t really put my finger on one thing,” Poot said.

“I ended up having a year hiatus from it before coming back and playing club water polo.”

When Poot heard Hamill, who he had worked with through the NSW Institute of Sport, was taking over as coach he reached out to ask about what it would take to get back in the green and gold.

Poot increased his training and was very excited to be named in the squad. He made his debut at the 2022 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Peru earlier this year.

While the Sharks have a challenging draw, starting with a game against Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning (AEST), Poot said there was no reason they couldn’t challenge the opposition.

Nic Porter says once you’re in the pool you don’t really think about the depth of the country you are playing. Picture, John Gass
Nic Porter says once you’re in the pool you don’t really think about the depth of the country you are playing. Picture, John Gass

“It will take everyone to switch on a lot. It is a very tight contest so anything can happen if we bring our A-game,” he said.

While this year’s worlds will be the first for the majority of the team — many of them have been playing together for years — with five others playing alongside Poot at the 2016 Junior World Championships, including goalkeeper Nic Porter.

The Queensland-based athlete has waited years for his call up to the senior Sharks squad — even moving overseas to play in the US College system for four years to improve his game.

“There were a lot of different emotions (when I was told I’d made the team),” Porter said.

“I was relieved because selections can be a stressful time and then I was just very proud to be given the chance to represent Australia at the highest level.”

Porter said he had no concerns about being the last line of defence against some of the world’s top teams.

“We have been dealt a pretty tough draw but looking at the rest of the competition there are no easy groups,” Porter said.

“Coming up against those teams is going to be a lot of fun. Once you are in the moment you don’t really think about who you are coming up against. I just have to try and stop the shots and help the team out.”

The Sharks will take on Kazakhstan on Wednesday June 22 at 2am (AEST).

Aussie skipper’s stunning start to world champs

Aussie Stingers new captain Zoe Arancini has helped get the team’s World Championships campaign off to a flying start with a 13-goal win over Kazakhstan in Budapest.

Arancini, 30, scored five goals, to be named player of the match, which Australia won 19-6.

The new-look Stingers team are looking to make their mark after missing out on a chance to fight for a medal at Tokyo – being knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Australia dominated the first half, finding the net 15 times – before switching to a more defensive set-up for the second half.

Rising star Tilly Kearns, who made her international debut at the 2019 FINA World League Finals, continued to shine scoring a goal in each of the first three quarters.

Young keeper Gabi Palm helped keep Kazakhstan out of the game letting just six goals slip through.

The Stingers will next face New Zealand on Thursday at 2am (AEST).

While the Aussie men, the Sharks will play their first game of the tournament at 2am (AEST) on Wednesday, against Kazakhstan.

Five-minute guide to water polo world champs

The Aussie Sharks and Stingers will face off against the toughest competitors in the world this week at the World Championships – both teams will look to improve on their disappointing performance at the Olympics.

In Tokyo the women’s team fell agonisingly short of a shot at a medal going down in the quarterfinal to Russia while the men’s team failed to make it past the group stage.

Since returning from the Olympics both sides have gained new head coaches and had a number of experienced players retire – opening the door for new tactics and enthusiastic debutants.

We break down everything you need to know ahead of the competition starting on Tuesday – including the biggest Aussie stars to watch in the pool, five new rookies set to shine and all the match details.

Bronte Halligan has been an integral part of the Stingers for years and will need to step up for the World Championships. Picture: Getty Images.
Bronte Halligan has been an integral part of the Stingers for years and will need to step up for the World Championships. Picture: Getty Images.

Aussies stars to watch

Bronte Halligan

Bronte Halligan has been an integral part of the Aussie Stingers for eight years, clocking up 110 international caps.

She earned her first Olympics call up last year, after just missing out on the team bound for Rio, helping the Australians through to the quarterfinals. After Tokyo the right-handed utility moved to Italy to play professionally for Ekipe Orrizonte, in the Italian league. The side won its 22nd title against four-time Italian champions this year. With the Stingers playing a young side Halligan is sure to take on a leadership role and shine at this year’s Worlds.

Amy Ridge has won gold before and the Stingers will be leaning on her again. Picture: etty Images.
Amy Ridge has won gold before and the Stingers will be leaning on her again. Picture: etty Images.

Amy Ridge

There is little Amy Ridge hasn’t done since making her Stingers debut in 2017. The 25-year-old centre back first represented Australia as a junior at the FINA Youth World Championships, where the team finished 11th. She was part of the Stingers team which won gold at the 2017 World League Intercontinental Cup, won a bronze at the 2018 World Cup and last year competed at her first Olympics. Ridge completed one season in the American College system for the University of Michigan in 2016 and just last week renewed her contract with Greek water polo side Vouliagmeni Nautical Club.

Water polo runs in the family for Zoe Arancini, who takes over as Stingers captain. Picture: AAP.
Water polo runs in the family for Zoe Arancini, who takes over as Stingers captain. Picture: AAP.

Zoe Arancini

With a mother, father and aunty who all played water polo for Australia Zoe Arancini was bound to be a star in the pool. The Stingers new captain made her debut in 2009 helping the team win bronze at the FINA World League Super Final. She was named Water Polo Australia Junior Women’s Player of the Year the same year and has only continued to improve. Arancini is now a dual Olympian and has competed at countless world championships and cups. She made a short-term move to China to train with their national women’s team before moving back home to play for Fremantle in the Australia Water Polo League. Arancini now has more than 250 international caps to her name.

Blake Edwards has been honing his skills in America for the past three years and will look to be one of the leading goal scorers at the World Championships.
Blake Edwards has been honing his skills in America for the past three years and will look to be one of the leading goal scorers at the World Championships.

Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards is a stalwart of the Aussie Sharks, with 79 caps. He has competed at junior world championships, world university games, world cups, intercontinental cups and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Edwards, 30, was this year named in the Australian Waterpolo League All Star Team. He was the highest goal scorer at the 2020 World League Intercontinental Cup. Edwards moved to the US for three years, honing his skills in the American College system, playing for the University of Southern California Trojans – where he was named in the All Tournament First Team three years in a row.

Nathan Power is one of the Sharks’ most dominant centre backs and will be co-captain at the World Championships. Picture: Patria Jannides.
Nathan Power is one of the Sharks’ most dominant centre backs and will be co-captain at the World Championships. Picture: Patria Jannides.

Nathan Power

At 200cm tall Nathan Power is one of the Sharks’ most commanding centre backs. Power, 29, made his Australian debut at the 2013 World Junior Championships – now 9 years later he will co-captain the Sharks at the upcoming World Championships in Budapest. Power has also competed at the 2020 Olympics, helped the Aussie win bronze at the 2019 World League Super Final and silver at the 2018 World Cup. He grew up in Newcastle and played for the Hunter Hurricanes in the AWL before joining the UNSW Wests Magpies squad.

Tim Putt

Tim Putt is the future of Aussie men’s water polo. The 23-year-old centre back has been playing the sport since a junior, being named the most valuable player at the 2016 Australian 18 and under National Age Club Championships. Putt announced himself as a future star at the 2017 FINA World Championships, displaying composure beyond his years, to help the team finished in seventh place. He has also there when the Sharks finished second at the 2018 World Cup and bronze at the 2018 World League Super Final. Putt made his Olympic debut in Tokyo and then returned home to help the UNSW Wests Magpies win the AWL.

Nic Porter is one of the Sharks’ rising stars and one to watch at the World Championships. Picture: John Gass.
Nic Porter is one of the Sharks’ rising stars and one to watch at the World Championships. Picture: John Gass.

Five new faces to watch

Nic Porter

Nic Porter, 23, will be in the cage for the Sharks at the World Cup. The rising star started his water polo journey playing for St Andrew’s, on the Sunshine Coast, when he was just 8-years-old. Porter started in the Australian Water Polo League, playing for Queensland Breakers, before moving to America to play in the college system for the University of Southern California. He quickly made a name for himself earning selection in the All-American team four times. After the World Championships he will jet off to play professionally for Barceloneta.

John Hedges

John Hedges started playing water polo with his sister in the Flippaball program at Bitcon Pool in Fremantle. The 23-year-old keeper, moved to the east coast to pursue his water polo career. He currently plays for UNSW Wests Magpies in the Australian Water Polo League. Hedges made his Sharks debut at the 2022 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Peru where they won silver.

Chaz Poot

Chaz Poot, 23, first fell in love with water polo as a seven year old and honed his skills at Newington College in Sydney. As a junior he represented Australia on several occasions at World Junior Championships. Poot stepped back from national duties but continued to play for the Sydney Uni Lions in the Australian Water Polo League, where he won a championship in 2018. In the past six months he returned to the high performance team, making his Sharks debut at the 2022 Fina World League Intercontinental Cup – he will make his senior World Championships debut in Budapest.

Charlize Andrews has been a Youth and Junior World Champion MVP and will be hoping to keep it going. Picture: Tom Threadingham
Charlize Andrews has been a Youth and Junior World Champion MVP and will be hoping to keep it going. Picture: Tom Threadingham

Charlize Andrews

Having been a member of junior Australian teams for a number of years Charlize Andrews is no stranger to international competition. The 21-year-old Queenslander has previously been dubbed the most valuable player at the Youth World Championships and Junior World Championships. A talented utility, Andrews made her senior Stingers debut at the 2022 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Peru, which Australia won. She plays for Queensland Thunder in the AWL.

Hayley Ballesty

University of NSW Elite Athlete Hayley Ballesty earned her first Stingers call up for the FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in March. Ballesty had been edging closer to senior selection after being named in the Australian training squad for the Tokyo Olympics. She also previously represented Australia at the World University Games and Youth level. Ballesty has also just been awarded a scholarship to Arizona State University where she will play Division 1 water polo.

Schedule

WOMEN

Tuesday June 21

Australia v Kazakhstan, 3am AEST

It is a repeat of the Stingers 2017 Hungary World Cup opener. Australia had a convincing win against Kazakhstan finishing ahead 16-4. Stingers’ newly appointed captain Zoe Arancini played a vital role in that win. If statistics are solely relied on Australia should be able to kick the 2022 World Cup off in a similar fashion.

Thursday June 23

Australia v New Zealand, 2am AEST

The Stingers should have no problem dispatching across the ditch rivals who have had little international competition since finishing 12th at the last World Championships in 2019.

Saturday June 25

Australia v Brazil, 2am AEST

The two teams did battle at the Intercontinental Cup in March. Australia, who went on to win the competition, defeated Brazil 17-2.

MEN

Wednesday June 22

Australia v Kazakhstan, 2am AEST

The Aussie men will have a good chance to start their campaign with a win when they face Kazakhstan. The two teams went head to head in the final pool game at the Tokyo Olympics with Australia winning 15-7.

Friday June 24

Australia v Serbia, 2am AEST

Serbia, who won gold in Tokyo, will be the Sharks hardest pool game. The Aussies will have to put on a real show to get a win, a close game would be a good result.

Sunday June 26

Australia v USA, 3.30am AEST

The USA are coming off a strong Olympics campaign, where they finished sixth, three places ahead of Australia. With a mostly unchanged squad they will be strong competition for the Sharks.

Originally published as Water Polo world championships 2022: Stingers defeat Brazil to earn spot in the quarterfinal