Round 6 Preview – Torpedoes host Balmain

IT has taken until Round 6 of the 2019 OVO Australian Water Polo League season but the UWA Torpedoes get two games at home this weekend hosting the Balmain Tigers on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon at HBF Stadium’s Outdoor Pool.

The Torpedoes men and women have already played eight games this season but none of them have been at the two venues they will be calling home in 2019 – HBF Stadium and the UWA Aquatic Centre.

Following the week-long road trip to Sydney in Round 2, the weekend spent in Adelaide in Round 3 and then last Saturday’s derbies against Fremantle at Bicton Pool, it’s time for the Torpedoes to play host.

The Round 6 match ups against Balmain begin on Thursday night with the women’s clash to take place at 6pm with the men to follow at 7.30pm.

Then on Saturday also at HBF Stadium, the women’s contest begins at 2.30pm with the men’s game to follow at 4pm.

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POSITIVES COME OUT OF DERBY LOSSES FOR TORPS

The Torpedoes women started their season winning two of the five games on the Sydney road trip while losing by a goal and in a penalty shootout in two of the losses.

They then won both games against the Adelaide Jets but last Saturday’s derby didn’t go to plan with the Fremantle Marlins beating them 11-3 at Bicton Pool.

But the UWA women have the chance to bounce back with the two games against the Tigers this weekend.

It’s going to be far from easy, though, with Balmain yet to lose yet in 2019 after five games against Sydney University, Hunter Hurricanes (twice), Drummoyne Devils and Cronulla Sharks.

They have scored 75 goals in those five games too and conceded just 30. Rowie Webster has scored 18 goals, Katie Dudley 13, Alice Williams 12 and Caroline Anderson 11.

Jamie Oberman is one of a host of young players emerging with the Torpedoes this season and is looking forward to getting in the home pool.

“We’re so excited, we can’t wait and we know our Torps crowd is ready to cheer us on loudly,” Oberman said.

“Our main goal is to play every single game as hard as we can, but overall we would love to make finals. We think we’re giving every team a good run for their money and feel like we have been able to surprise a few teams.

“We’re still very motivated and ready to give Balmain a run for their money. We’re not always the strongest, but we have girls who count counter attack as quick as anything, we can swim days on end. We think that’s what we can use the most because we do lack in experience.”

Oberman might be glad to be playing at home for the first time this season, but is fully aware of the challenge Balmain presents.

“They’ve got some big names like Rowie Webster, Pascalle Casey and one of WA’s own Genevieve Longman in goals,” Oberman said.

“We’re expecting them to come out hard and we want to be able to hold them at a level that we can keep compete at, as well as hold their bigger players to minimal goals.”

Meanwhile, the young squad from the Torpedoes men are still searching for their third win of the season with the first two coming against the Cronulla Sharks on that first up Sydney road trip.

They have since lost both games in Adelaide and then also in the derby to Fremantle, but it was a competitive showing before the Mariners won 12-8 at Bicton Pool.

The Balmain men now to come to town and aren’t quite in the same form as their women’s side. The Tigers men have won just one of their five games this season but that doesn’t mean the Torpedoes should expect anything to be handed to them.

Torpedoes men’s coach Damian Kelly is looking forward to seeing how his team responds to being in a home pool and playing in front of more familiar faces.

“We are looking forward to a couple of games at home, we feel like we’ve been on the road for a long time,” Kelly said.

“It was good to play our first game in Perth last week and now we’ve got the home games to look forward to. That will be good for the kids and the crowd, and the mums and dads and families to watch the games.

“Balmain have got the Australian goalie and are an older, mature team similar to Fremantle. We’ll have our work cut out because they’ll be big and strong.

“They will also be coached by the ex-ladies coach from Torps who moved to Sydney for work, Marty, is coaching them so it will be good to catch up with him this week. We’ll cross swords and see how we go.”

ROUND 6 OVO AUSTRALIAN WATER POLO LEAGUE FIXTURES

THURSDAY
UWA Torpedoes v Balmain Tigers – HBF Stadium (Women: 6:00pm. Men: 7:30pm)

SATURDAY
UWA Torpedoes v Balmain Tigers – HBF Stadium (Women: 2:30pm. Men: 4:00pm)