Aussie Sharks Final Feeding Frenzy Leaves US Licking Their Wounds

aaron younger shoots
OLD HEADS ON YOUNGER SHOULDERS: Sharks skipper Aaron Younger showed why he is so highly regarded in the Australian line up, keeping his cool in the final quarter to lead his team to a 14-8 win. Photo: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix).

The Aussie Sharks men’s water polo team have given their Olympic hopes a timely confidence boost, completing a 2-1 Test Series win over the USA at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre tonight.,

Lachy Edwards

FIVE GOAL HERO: Sharks in-form centre forward Lachlan Edwards. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

The Sharks, with the Californian-connected Edwards brothers Lachlan and Blake (who both played for the USC Trojans) in fine touch, wrapped up the best of the three-game Series 14-8 with five unanswered goals in the final quarter.

Lachlan Edwards topped scored for the Sharks with five goals, two in the opening quarter and then one each in the remaining quarters, ahead of captain Aaron Younger with four and brother Blake two in the Sharks dominant final quarter.

Other scorers for Australia were Joe Kayes, Nic Brooks and Lachlan Hollis with one each while Alexander Bowen was easily the USA’s best, netting five of their eight goals while Benjamin Hallock, Chancellor Ramirez and Tyler Abramson all scored one each.

The match developed into a real slug-fest in the third quarter in what was a physical affair with both teams desperately striving for the upper hand and keeping the referees on their toes.

The three-quarter-time siren couldn’t have come quick enough with the Sharks ahead 9-8 and there was no doubt the team that settled back down quickest in the final term would win the day.

Former Australian captain and Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medallist Debbie Watson was quick to offer advice to the Sharks in commentary, saying: “It’s time for the Aussie boys to play and behave like they’re leading.”

And although the players had no idea what she said from the top of the grandstand, that’s just what they did with captain Younger leading from the front and by example with his fourth of the night coming early in the final term before the brothers Edwards took over.

Blake Edwards pushed the home side ahead by three goals – stretching the scoreboard to 11-8 – and giving the Sharks just the momentum they needed with a goal described by commentator Mike Westdorp as “poetry in motion.”

Breakaway Brooks then found Kayes on two metres and the big fella made no mistake with the Sharks re-setting after the agitation threatened to ruin their chances in the third quarter.

And playing arguably one of his best games in the green and gold, his fellow centre forward Lachlan Edwards, then scored his fifth despite the presence of two US maulers.

Brother Blake then kept it all in the family, scoring the final goal of the match to wrap up a well deserved victory for coach Elvis Fatovic and his players – an unlucky sixth in this year’s Fina World Championships.

Younger knew his team had to re-focus and to get back into the game and put his players in the right places, especially in the team’s extra-man attack.

“We knew that’s where we had to improve and we spent the last two days working on our extra man plays and it certainly payed dividends,” said Younger.

AUSTRALIA (L Edwards 5, A Younger 4, B Edwards 2, J Kayes, N Brooks, L Hollis goals) defeated USA  8 (A Bowen 5 goals, B Hallock, C Ramirez, T Abramson goals).

Scores: First Quarter: USA 4:3; Half-time: USA 6:5; Three-quarter time: Australia 9:8

750_0308

SLAM DUNK: Marko Vavic. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

750_0346

ONE – GETTING IT OFF HIS CHEST: Alex Obert leans on Nic Brooks. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix).

750_0347

TWO – LETTING IT FLY: Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

Andrew Ford

ALL-A-FORD: Andrew Ford drives above Luca Cupido. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix).

Captain Aaron Younger

EASY BROTHER: Sharks captain Aaron Younger in control against Alexander Obert. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

D50_9484

EYES WIDE SHUT – ARMS WIDE OPEN: Sharks keeper Anthony Hrysanthos. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix).

D50_9506

CAUGHT IN A SHARK NET: Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

D50_9522

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Sharks skipper Aaron Younger. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

D50_9539

ALEXANDER GREAT: US top goal scorer with five, Alexander Bowen rises above the rest. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

D50_9544

REACHING FOR THE STARS: Blake Edwards and friends.Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix).

D50_9553

UNMARKED: This US goal sneak seizes this rare opportunity. Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)

Richie Campbell

FLAGS TO RICHIE’s: Aussie Richie Campbell flagged by his US opponent.Photo Courtesy: Water Polo Australia (Harvpix)