Breakers the next challenge for Torpedoes at UWA

THE UWA Torpedoes host the Queensland Breakers in two National Water Polo League matches this Thursday and Saturday night as the run of home games at UWA Aquatic Centre continues.

The Torpedoes will welcome the Breakers for the first clash on Thursday night at UWA Aquatic Centre with the women’s clash to begin at 7pm and the men to follow at 8.30pm.

Then after Queensland goes and plays the Fremantle Marlins and Mariners on Friday night, it will be back to UWA on Saturday night with the Torpedoes and Breakers women locking horns from 6.30pm, and the men from 8pm.

Also on Saturday night at half-time of each NWPL game there will be a junior match played featuring players from Triton Water Polo Club.

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The Torpedoes women enter the clashes with the Breakers on the back of two thrillers last weekend against the Hunter Hurricanes.

Hunter claimed the nail-biting 8-7 win on Friday night before UWA bounced back on Sunday to win 7-6.

That stopped a run of 10 straight defeats for the Torpedoes to improve them to a 5-10 record on the 2017 NWPL season to date. With seven home games remaining, there’s still a chance UWA can make a run for a second straight finals appearance.

This week’s challenge is the Breakers and it’s a significant test for the Torpedoes.

Queensland currently sits in fourth position on the standings but more importantly have lost just the two games on the season and won 11 games.

They have plenty of quality and experience, and at 11-2 are certainly a team that will be looking to be serious premiership contenders this season.

That makes it a good challenge for the Torpedoes and it’s one that coach Scott Schweickle is looking forward to.

“We just need to play patient and intelligent water polo. They have a couple of pretty big firepower weapons there including the Australian captain from Rio, Bronwen Knox,” Schweickle said.

“She is their captain-coach so is in the water with them all the time and they have a couple of really good younger girls. They are good all-round which makes it a difficult task, but we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Meanwhile, the UWA men are building some impressive momentum this season on the back of winning last year’s NWPL title.

After winning seven of the 11 road games to open the 2017 season, the Torpedoes have now won all four of their home matches with two each against the UTS Balmain Tigers and Hunter Hurricanes.

Last week’s 10-2 and 14-6 victories over the Hurricanes at UWA Aquatic Centre were the two most emphatic performances by the Torpedoes so far this season.

Aside from George Ford as he recovers from a shoulder reconstruction, it’s a healthy Torpedoes squad as well entering the two clashes this weekend against the Breakers.

Queensland currently sits in ninth position on the NWPL standings with a 5-8 record but they need to start stringing some wins together to stay in the finals.

That’s why Torpedoes coach Andrei Kovalenko knows they certainly can’t be taken lightly.

“I’m expecting a big fight because they have very good players and they have two Spaniards as their imports, and a Spanish coach who is young and ambitious,” Kovalenko said.

“They also have someone like Anthony Martin who has played for Australia for many years at Olympic Games and World Championships.

“They will be quite tough opposition to play and they are young as well, so they are really ambitious and they will want to come here to show us that they are not just playing national league for fun, they want to be up there. It will be very challenging for us.”

UWA Torpedoes v Queensland Breakers – UWA Aquatic Centre (Women: 7.00pm. Men: 8.30pm)

UWA Torpedoes v Queensland Breakers – UWA Aquatic Centre (Women: 6.30pm. Men: 8.00pm)