Frustrated Naroska hopes Torpedoes show some spark

TAKING on the role as coach of the UWA Torpedoes men after retiring following his glittering playing career has certainly had more challenges than Florian Naroska might have envisioned, but he’s hoping for a strong finish to the Australian Water Polo League season.

Naroska had a stunning playing career that was capped off with his stint with the Torpedoes that including winning the 2016 National Water Polo League title.

On top of that in Germany, he went to the 2008 Olympic Games and represented his nation at five World Championships and four European Championships so it’s fair to say he put together a career most could only dream about in water polo.

But he and his wife Emilie were well settled in Perth having made the move and he was keen to stay beyond his playing career in the national league and when the coaching job became available, he was happy to put his hand up.

Coming off winning a title and then losing the bronze medal game the past two years, the Torpedoes men find themselves in unfamiliar territory now heading into the Round 9 trip to Brisbane out of finals contention with just the two wins and a draw to go with 11 losses.

While Naroska has had his moments of frustration and can see his group struggling knowing they can’t reach finals, he hopes to see them find a spark to finish the season with some momentum starting with two games each away to the Queensland Breakers and Brisbane Barracudas, and then at home to the Cronulla Sharks.

“It wasn’t that frustrating at the beginning and I still am enjoying it, but the situation at the moment is quite hard for everyone,” Naroska said.

“We know that we can’t reach the finals anymore, we are literally out and we have six games to go.

“The motivation has just gone for everyone and over these last six games we need to keep together and finish the season and hopefully we have some more wins, at least on this road trip. Then we’ll see what happens after the season.”

The challenges of being the head coach has certainly taken some time for Naroska to adjust to, but he is finding that coaching could be something he now wants to pursue long-term.

“For me it’s easier to play water polo than coach water polo. You have to deal with so many individuals,” he said.

“Obviously you do have to in the water as well, but as a coach it’s more intense and everyone has their issues and you need to be understanding.

“It’s just your job to manage stuff, deal with stuff and organise stuff. I’m not a big organiser anyway so it’s all those bits and pieces that you have as your responsibility that can be hard.”

This break following the disappointing home losses to the Sydney Uni Lions before heading to Brisbane has especially had its challenges for Naroska and the Torpedoes players still in Perth considering many of them have been away on other duties.

Even centre forward Kenta Araki was away with the Japanese national team, but Naroska has tried to keep things as fresh as possible for the group heading into the last road trip of 2018.

“I have tried to keep the sessions as easy as possible at the moment during this break. We had two training camps with Fremantle which were some easy training games,” he said.

“We have tried to keep the players happy at training. The national team boys are away anyway and the 18s had been in Canberra. We only had a handful of players anyway so it was just about trying to keep them happy.”

Naroska hasn’t been too displeased for the most part with the way the Torpedoes have defended throughout the season conceding 9.8 goals.

But it’s been at the other end he has had the most frustration with as the Torpedoes have averaged scoring just the 6.1 goals.

That was especially emphasises in the Sunday loss to Sydney Uni when the Lions played Cody Ingram in goals and the Torpedoes still only managed to score seven goals in an 11-goal defeat.

“The main issue has been not scoring enough goals. The defence starts to get better and then I don’t know what the issue with the attack is. We have some good shooters and solid centre forwards, but we just can’t put the ball in. That’s the biggest issue,” Naroska said.

“The first game against Sydney Uni was quite alright. We had a good game with the performance from everyone being quite good even though the result showed something else. But I was quite happy with the performance.

“The second game was totally the opposite. Sydney Uni had no goalkeeper and we couldn’t actually score. It was a quite disappointing performance and the attitude from some players was devastating so there was a lot of disappointment.”