Brave Torpedoes NWPL campaign ends in fourth place

DEFENDING National Water Polo League champions the UWA Torpedoes did a tremendous job to get back to the semi finals in 2017 but couldn’t quite bring home a medal from Sydney.

The Torpedoes broke through in stunning fashion during the finals of 2016 winning the club’s first NWPL premiership since entering the competition in 1990.

Backing up was always going to prove a tough ask with the Torpedoes now having a target on their backs throughout 2017, but they did a good job to firstly qualify for finals from fifth position.

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It was then on to the NWPL finals for 2017 starting Friday at Sydney’s Pymble Ladies’ College Aquatic Centre.

The first task for the Torpedoes was an elimination final on Friday against the Brisbane Barracudas.

Brisbane pulled away in the second quarter before UWA responded well with the game on the line to win 9-7 and advance to a semi-final with the minor premier Sydney Uni Lions on Saturday.

The Lions might have finished on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, but the Torpedoes had beaten them once during the year in their home pool so it set up a terrific contest with a grand final spot on the line.

The Torpedoes made a solid start to the semi-final as well with scores tied at 2-2 by quarter-time.

UWA responded to a couple of early second quarter goals from Sydney Uni with a goal to Tom Powell but the Lions hit back again to lead 6-3 by half-time.

The Torpedoes did score first to start the third quarter with Andrew Ford scoring to close the gap to two goals.

By three quarter-time, the Lions led 7-4 and despite the Torpedoes continuing to fight hard the home team prevailed to win 8-5 and book in a grand final spot.

Ford scored two goals in the finish for the Torpedoes with Powell, Nick Hughes and Lach Pethick scoring once each as well.

That meant the Torpedoes were playing for bronze up against the Cronulla Sharks who had agonisingly fallen short of a grand final berth the previous night with the UNSW Wests Magpies beating them 10-9.

And the Sharks came out with a point to prove for being in the gold medal match racing to a 4-0 lead against the Torpedoes.

UWA did well to respond to stay in touch in the second quarter with three goals from Powell, Hughes and Tim Putt but Cronulla still led 7-3 at half-time.

A good counter attack goal from the Torpedoes finished by Florian Naroska again still meant UWA stayed in touch of Cronulla in the third quarter but the Sharks were able to maintain a 10-4 advantage by three quarter-time.

Tom Beare hit three fourth quarter goals for the Torpedoes but it wasn’t enough to stop the Sharks winning 15-7 to claim the bronze medal for 2017.

Beare scored three goals in the bronze medal match for the Torpedoes while Hughes, Naroska, Putt and Powell all scored the one goal apiece.

Later on Sunday, the UNSW Wests Magpies went on to beat the Sydney Uni Lions in the grand final.

The Torpedoes might not have been able to quite defend their title from 2016, but it was a tremendous effort despite some adversity to get back to the finals, win the elimination final and still be among the top four teams in the national league.

NATIONAL WATER POLO LEAGUE FINALS 2017
Pymble Ladies College Aquatic Centre

ELIMINATION FINAL – FRIDAY APRIL 7
UWA Torpedoes 9 defeated Brisbane Barracudas 7

SEMI FINAL – SATURDAY AUGUST 8
UWA Torpedoes 5 lost to Sydney University Lions 8

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH – SUNDAY AUGUST 9
UWA Torpedoes 7 lost to ACU Cronulla Sharks 15