It’s been a busy month for the Brisbane Barracudas and Queensland Breakers with the start of the National League. Both teams have been involved with several tough matches in the first three rounds.
We kicked off the year with the start of the 2017 National Water Polo League. Both teams, the Brisbane Barracudas and the Queensland Breakers were involved with several tough matches in the first three rounds of the NWPL.
It was an emotional first round for both teams, which has been renamed the Cole Miller Round, as a mark of respect to Cole and his family. All teams who played over the weekend observed a minute’s silence and retired the number 10 cap. The Brisbane Barracudas also released green heart balloons before their first home game of the season. A big thank you to the Brisbane Tritons, who ran the BBQ and to all the supporters who came to cheer on the Barras and show their support to the Millers. We are incredibly lucky to belong to such a close knit community.
The Barras started their campaign with an impressive clean sweep against the Hunter Hurricanes. Some individual brilliance and solid defence in the Women’s first match meant that the Barras will able to hold the visitors scoreless with a 14-0 win. The Men’s matches were a closer affair, with fast-paced, end-to-end action. Like the Women, the Men managed to get two wins over the Hurricanes.
The Breakers won three of their four matches against the Hurricanes, with a close first match for the Men who were defeated by two goals in their first outing. However, they turned their fortunes around in an action-packed second match, coming from behind in second half to win 11-6. The Women’s team arrested their dominance early on in both matches to take two convincing victories over the visitors.
Both teams were on the road for Round Two facing three tough Sydney teams, UNSW Wests, Sydney University Lions and Cronulla Sharks. The defending Women’s champions, the Sydney University Lions, once again proved to be in hot contention to reach the finals with wins over both Queensland teams. The Breakers Women’s bounced back from their early loss winning their remaining two games of the round. In the Men’s competition, the team had a tough three losses but managed to keep the scorelines close and capitalise on the opportunities presented.
The Barras also had a tough road trip with both teams winning one game in Round Two. In the Men’s competition, a narrow loss to UNSW Wests and a win over the Sydney University Lions set up a fascinating match against the Cronulla Sharks. Unfortunately, the team struggled against one of the top teams from 2016 with a 10-5 defeat to the Sharks. The Women shared a similar fate, losing to the Sydney University Lions and the Cronulla Sharks, however, their win over UNSW Wests keeps the team inside the top six.
Back on home ground for Round Three and both teams were looking to improve on their results from the previous week. An Australia Day battle against the Barras welcomed the visitors UTS Balmain Tigers. It was another tough day in the pool for the Women as the Tigers proved to be too strong for the home team losing 11-9. In a nail-biting Men’s match, the teams were neck and neck throughout the game, however, the home team, buoyed by fantastic support took the victory by one goal. Motivated by their narrow loss on Thursday, the Women looked to win their second match against the visitors to keep their finals hopes alive. A stronger attack and defence meant the Barra’s came away with a well-deserved victory and currently leaves them sitting third overall. The final game of the evening was another fiercely contested match and similar to the first game, the score was tied up with both teams looking to find the edge over their opponents. Once again it was the Barra’s who emerged victorious with a one goal lead.
The Breakers split their home games at Valley Pool and Kawana Aquatic Centre on the Sunshine Coast. Sunday’s match was also an opportunity for budding young water polo players to watch top level water polo action up close and chatting to members of the squad who started their water polo careers on the Sunshine Coast. In both women’s games, the Breakers defence was rock solid with some great athletic ability displayed in goal. In the final quarters, the Tigers found their groove and closed the gap, however, the women were able to hold on to win their games 11-8 and 12-6. In the Men’s competition, an early first quarter lead slipped away from the Breakers as the Tigers went on to win Friday night’s match 12-9. Sunday’s Sunshine Coast fixture was a must win game for the Breakers to keep them in finals contention. All tied in the first quarter, the Breakers dug deep to hold off a strong attack from the Tigers to take the win 9-6.
Both teams have a well-deserved bye in Round Four but will back in the pool for the Grays Online Battle of Brisbane. The first leg of the Brisbane Derby will be at Valley Pool from 7 pm on Saturday, 11th February. Pull on your team colours and support your team.