Quinny proud of how far Torpedoes have come in his career

THERE is no one player who embodies what the UWA Torpedoes represent than champion goalkeeper Luke Quinlivan and as he approaches the end of his remarkable career, he couldn’t be prouder to have seen the growth in the club.

Quinlivan has now played 318 National Water Polo League matches and there were some tremendously tough times there with the Torpedoes struggling to be competitive in the pool and to have the organisation or infrastructure out of it.

But now as he approaches his final game this Friday night at the UWA Aquatic Centre against the Fremantle Mariners ahead of one last finals series in the national league, Quinlivan can’t help but reflect on pride on how far the Torpedoes have come.

Just being competitive was a long way off at times and a premiership victory was far from anyone’s thoughts.

That’s what makes Quinlivan so proud to have captained the team to last year’s breakthrough triumph, but there’s much more along the way that he has been proud to see develop with the Torpedoes.

“I’m incredibly proud how far the club has come. A lot of people have been behind that happening and Andrei Kovalenko has been a huge part of that as coach,” Quinlivan said.

“Peter Hughes taking the reigns as president and facilitating a means where we have a program, we have a pool and we have the numbers coming in with juniors where we have a pyramid structure has been like watching your own kids grow up almost.

“It would have been a real shame especially for guys like Brett McGhie and myself to play 300 games in national league and start our careers losing games by 20 goals and to go out losing by 20 goals.

“Something would have been missing. But to watch the club grow and to have it become something that isn’t reliant on any one person, it’s now a real club and I know that Peter is trying to make sure that the infrastructure is there to continue on its own feet. It has been great to watch.”

Quinlivan has done it all in a remarkable career now that includes the 318 games in the NWPL of which the majority have been with the Torpedoes even if he did start in Cronulla back in 2002.

He has also been a regular Australian representative along the way and he will be remembered as one of the very best goalkeepers the country and the national league has ever seen.

But life is heading in a direction for Quinlivan now as a married man and a father of one with a second child on the way and a career he needs to also dedicate time to building.

He never once reconsidered that 2017 would be the last season of his career even if his form in the pool suggests he perhaps should given he likely remains the NWPL’s premier goalkeeper.

Quinlivan remains the master at penalties and has won games for the Torpedoes again this season simply because of not letting goals through.

However, he knows that the time is right now to retire following this one last regular season game against Fremantle and the upcoming finals campaign.

“This time last year I thought that 2016 was my last season, but some things happened in the background and I agreed to one more season and I have been happy to do that,” he said.

“Irrespective of what happens at finals, there are absolutely no regrets and I’ve enjoyed it but this decision is something I’ve wanted to do and it wasn’t a hard decision.

“I’ve got a 14-month old baby girl and I actually have another baby on the way believe it or not and I really want to be able to finish work at 6 or 6.30 and go home to spend time with family and have dinner with them, and spend time with my wife and kids.

“Not being able to do that over the last couple of seasons has made it a tough thing to commit to water polo and that’s nothing to do with the guys. I love the sport, the guys and the club, and I love to play, but your priorities start to change and that’s part of growing up and being a man, and having a life.”

The fact that he remains an outstanding performer in the pool as well and that he will be retiring pretty much still at the top of his powers is something Quinlivan is proud of as well.

He hasn’t really had time to accept the fact that it’s almost all over though, but he expects once the finals are done and he no longer has training to come to or games to prepare for that it will really hit him then.

“I definitely think that’s a better way to go out than being forced out because you just won’t leave. If I got to my late 30s and I was starting to really struggle and someone’s tapping you on the shoulder to go because you just won’t leave, if I had my choice I’d like to be going out this way,” Quinlivan said.

“To be honest I’ve been so busy juggling work, training, our baby and paying a mortgage and god knows what else it probably hasn’t sunk in yet that this is my last game at home. But it probably just hasn’t sunk in yet.

“I’m sure that without question come two or three weeks after the season is over and I’m not training anymore and my focus has shifted elsewhere without a game to look forward to, that it will settle in and I’m not sure how I will feel about that. Obviously water polo has been a big part of my life.

“I’ve made some great friendships, I’ve travelled the world and it gave me a bit of a sense of purpose in terms of giving me something to work for and towards when I was younger.

“For that reason, I will miss it but on the other hand I am married, we have a beautiful baby girl and I have a good career pathway. I want to have more time to invest into other things for my own progression and my family. It will more be about a change in focus rather than a loss of anything in my life.”