Self-belief, resilience the key for Torpedoes women

AN average losing margin of just two goals highlights how much improvement the UWA Torpedoes women have made so far in the 2018 OVO Australian Water Polo League season but getting so close and coming up short is something coach Scott Schweickle hopes they soon overcome.

It was a tough 2017 season for the Torpedoes with an eye to the future with some heavy defeats. While 2018 so far has seen the UWA women come away with just the one win and a draw from the opening 10 games, their sharply improved competitiveness can’t be ignored.

That has included one-goal losses to the Drummoyne Devils, Fremantle Marlins and UNSW Wests, and two-goal losses to Drummoyne, UNSW Wests and UTS Balmain Tigers so things quite conceivably could have been markedly different.


The Torpedoes are a vastly improved outfit this season and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that they could easily have won all 10 games they have played this season.

Obviously what really matters is the reality and when any team is performing well in so many ways but coming up short in the win department, it can be a little deflating.

For Schweickle, he knows the importance of his team continuing to believe in themselves and showing resilience, and ensuring they all remain together as one strong unit heading into this weekend’s home double against the winless Adelaide Jets.

“It’s all about two things and that’s self-belief and resilience. They are the most important words you can have in any team sport,” Schweickle said.

“I’ve always said to any athletes that I coach, especially the more experienced ones, that they certainly have some buy-in to what we do tactically and if I give them a game plan and they do it to the best of their ability and we don’t win, then I have to take that and it’s my fault.

“But if they don’t play to that game plan to the best of their ability and don’t give the best they can give, and make some critical errors under pressure, the end result won’t be what we want.”

While Schweickle is pleased that the Torpedoes have made strong improvement in so many ways this season, he also knows that in a lot of ways their mistakes are leading to costly conceding of goals in the tight finishes.

“One of the things that has been hurting us is the players’ decision-making at critical times during the games that is costing us goals. It’s the emotional side of things that you get as a coach when you should be winning games and you’re not,” he said.

“Everyone keeps trying to dig deeper to try and find a solution and sometimes you lose your way a bit doing that.

“The best thing you can try and do is stay positive through it. At this level you can’t afford to make too many critical mistakes because they lead to goals, good teams will score goals off you. The national league is a lot closer across the board this season.”

The arrival of imports Michelle Martinelli, Alyssa Diacono and Jakie Kohli along with the recruitment of Tayla Walsh has certainly had a big impact in the improved competitiveness in UWA this season.

But so has the continued development of some young players including Claire Whitaker who stepped up again on Sunday against Drummoyne to hit two crucial penalties late in the game after Walsh has received her third exclusion in the first half.

“Claire has a lot of talent and a lot of ability,” Schweickle said.

“She is the first one of the Triton who has come to play with us in a long, long time and I think that’s a great thing because Triton have a number of good players there who have the opportunity if we can make it happen.

“It’s Claire’s first season, no one knows who she is and after a few games with a few goals next to her name she might attract more attention from opposition teams.”