Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gold Coast, Australia, April 29.— Australia, United States of America, Japan and Kazakhstan have progressed to the FINA World League Men’s Water Polo Super Final following fifth-day action in the Intercontinental Tournament at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre today.

Australia made it five straight wins with a 13-3 margin over China, USA sent off winless New Zealand 20-6 and Japan, with six Olympians in the pool, had the better of Kazakhstan 14-6

Australia and USA will meet in Sunday’s final, while Japan and Kazakhstan will play for bronze.

The non-European quartet will meet the European qualifiers — champion Serbia, Croatia and Italy — and host Russia in the Super Final in Ruza, Russia on June 20-25.

Final round points: AUS 14, USA 12, JPN 10, KAZ 6, CHN 3, NZL 0.

Sunday schedule:

09:20: Classification 5-6 — CHN v NZL

10:40: Classification 3-4 — JPN v KAZ

12:00: Classification 1-2 — AUS v USA


Match Reports:

Match 13, 15:30, AUSTRALIA 13 CHINA 3

Quarters: 4-1, 1-0, 3-2, 5-1

Referees: Haziel Ortega (USA), Michael Brooks (NZL).

Penalties: AUS: 1/1

Extra Man: AUS: 3/4. CHN: 2/6.


AUSTRALIA: Ed Slade, Luke Pavillard, Tim Putt, Joe Kayes (1), Nathan Power, Andrew Ford (1), Jarrod Gilchrist (2), John Cotterill (6), Rhys Holden, James Fannon (1), Lachlan Hollis (2), Nicholas Brooks, Anthony Hrysanthos. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

CHINA: Zhi Wei Liang, Cheng Hao Chu (1), Jia Hao Peng, De Ming Li, Zhong Xian Chen (1), Ze Kai Xie, Wen Hui Lu, Yi Min Chen, Ge Lin Zhu, Yu Liu, Yun Ji Wang (1), Xiang Fu, Lin Feng Li. Head Coach: Ling Yun Mao.


Australia breezed into the gold-medal final with a well-worked win, thanks in part to nine-year veteran Johnno Cotterill (pictured), playing his 216th international. In fact, he has nearly half of the international caps in a team with eight players yet to reach double figures. Cotterill only arrived in Gold Coast on Friday in time for the clash with USA, scoring a penalty goal. Today it was three goals in the first quarter and the only goal of the second as the Aussie Sharks went from 4-1 to 5-1. Two more came in the final quarter. Lachlan Hollis lifted it to 6-1 off a neat pass, catching it on his left and shifting to his right to score. Cheng Hao Chu scored into the setting sun on the next attack. However, the Chinese revival was stymied with Jarrod Gilchrist firing one in from the top and captain Joe Kayes scoring from two metres for 8-2 to close the third. While James Fannon scored on extra early in the fourth, Cotterill proved his worth as the most experienced player in Gold Coast with two counter-attack strikes in two attacks for 11-2 by 5:04. Gilchrist smashed in his second, this time from the penalty line and Yun Ji Wang converted extra-man attack for 13-3, 12 seconds from time.

Flash quotes:

John Cotterill (AUS) — Six goals

“"It was a tough game. We probably started a bit hesitantly and we're the sort of team that if we start hesitantly we can be like that throughout the game. China came out hard and we were a bit slow for us, but we picked it up in the second half. That was a lot better. It was a little hard to come into today knowing we'd made the final, but every opportunity we have to play as a team is a good thing. We are a new team so this was another opportunity for us to play as a group on the international stage and that is nothing to be scoffed at. This is a young and talented side. Joe (Kayes) and Gilly (Jarrod Gilchrist) have stepped up; the goalies have been fantastic; Nathan (Power) coming back is a massive bonus as well. I don't think therefore it's a surprise we'll head into tomorrow's final undefeated. Elvis (Heach Coach Fatovic) is very much about concentrating on ourselves and focusing on what we can do and make it happen. This is a stepping stone and a great opportunity for everyone to show what he can do.”

Ling Yun Mao (CHN) — Head Coach

“Today our defence was OK, but on offence we were very tired. Our six on five was bad. However, I managed to change my players and give everyone time in the water in preparation for our game with New Zealand tomorrow. In the second period our zone defence was OK.”

Picture: McKinnon Media



Quarters: 2-5, 2-5, 0-5, 2-4

Referees: Vojin Putnikovic (SRB), Damir Temyrkhanov (KAZ).

Penalties: USA: 1/1.

Extra Man: NZL: 4/7. USA: 8/13.


NEW ZEALAND: Sid Dymond, Matthew Lewis, Matthew Morris, Ryan Pike, Callum Maxwell, Matthew Small (2), Anton Sunde (1), Liam Paterson (1), Sean Bryant, Matthew Bryant (2), Jerome McGuinness, Sean Newcombe, Bae Fountain. Head Coach: Goran Sablic.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Alexander Wolf, Nolan McConnell (1), Hannes Daube (2), Alexander Obert, Matthew De Trane, Johnathan Hooper (6), Maxwell Irving (4), Nicholas Carniglia (1), Jacob Ehrhardt (1), Ashworth Molthen (2), Alex Roelse (3), Marko Vavic, Zackery Rhodes. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.


United States of America eased into the final against Australia with a comfortable win over the Kiwis. USA managed to steal at will, pressing hard at all times, inflicting pain when wanted. This was evident in the third period when USA went on counter for four straight goals  in 90 seconds — three of them to scoring sensation Johnathan Hooper to bring his tally to five. New Zealand actually opened the scoring through captain Mathew Small, who is making a big impact here. USA then scored seven of the next eight goals for 7-2 in the second quarter. Matthew Bryant sent in his second goal from downtown for the Kiwis for 7-3. It went out to 9-3 with Anton Sunde pulling one back only for Maxwell Irving to whip in a penalty goal to close the half at 10-4. Hooper netted four times in the third quarter to bring up six goals for the second time this week (also against China) and have his team 15-4 in front by the last break. New Zealand tightened up its defence somewhat in the final quasrter and after Hannes Daube let fly with a fiver-metre shot that appeared to be a double take, captain Small converted extra. USA did what it has done best here all week with conversions of extra-man attack to take the lead to 17-5. The Kiwis were not without chances, one counter by Sunde screaming over the bar. Tiredness had well and truly hit and USA breezed home 20-6. That last goal went to Liam Paterson on counter when New Zealand had a two on one 10 seconds from time.

Flash quotes:

Alexander Rodriguez (USA) — Assistant Coach

"The game against New Zealand gave us another opportunity to give our guys off the bench more minutes in the water and just another chance to play together and work together. I think the first two games of this tournament, in particular, we were a bit nervous, but we've begun to build over the days and grow in confidence. We only have two Olympians on the roster right now, so our younger guys, in particular, were able to get some quality game time. It's been enjoyable to see us taking advantage of the playing time and experience.  We have four high schoolers on this team and they are getting some great minutes. We made some huge mistakes against the Aussies — some match-up issues, so we need to clean that up defensively. We would like to be able to slow them down more. I think again our younger guys were a little nervous and hopefully tomorrow they'll be a lot calmer.”

Matthew Bryant (NZL) — Two goals

“We started not bad in the first quarter, but we took our foot off the pedal. In the third quarter we had problems with ball security and we let in four quick counter goals. We can take some positives from the game as we had disciplined defence, especially in the second quarter. We hope to finish with a win against China tomorrow.”


Picture: McKinnon Media


Match 15, 18:10, KAZAKHSTAN 6 JAPAN 14

Quarters: 1-4, 1-2, 2-4, 2-4

Referees: Dragan Stampalija (CRO), Daniel Flahive (AUS).

Penalties: JPN 1/1.

Extra Man: KAZ: 2/5. JPN: 5/12.


KAZAKHSTAN: Madikhan Makhmetov, Yevgeniy Medvedev (1), Egor Berbelyuk, Roman Pilipenko (1), Miras Aubakirov (1), Alexey Shmider (1), Murat Shakenov (1), Yulian Verdesh, Altay Altayev, Bolat Turlykhanov (1), Ravil Manafov, Stanislav Shvedov, Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.

JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi (1), Shuma Kawamoto (1), Mitsuaki Shiga (3), Takuma Yoshida (1), Atsuto Iida (2), Yusuke Shimizu, Mitsura Takata (1), Atsushi Arai (2), Kohei Inaba (1), Keigo Okawa (1), Kenta Araki (1), Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head Coach: Yogi Omato.


This was the first of two consecutive matches between the current powerhouses of Asian men’s water polo. The result tonight was really for bragging rights as they will clash for the bronze medal on Sunday. Japan took the first step and will be hoping for a repeat at the sharp end of the six-day tournament. Japan easily the best team for most of the first half when leading 6-1 with less than three minutes left. The experienced Mitsuaki Shiga had two of the goals, both in the first quarter. Alexey Shmider pulled one back at 1:59 and despite  a timeout apiece, neither team could breach the defence by halftime. The third period was just as fast, just as frantic, but Kazakhstan had arrived on the same level and what Japan could do, the Kazakhs could also. That was until Shiga put away his third at 0:49 and then when Japan gained a chance for a timeout, those still at the pool witnessed one of the finest extra-man plays seen anywhere. Up to seven passes were made at lightning speed before Shiga sent the last pass to  Atsuko Iida, who scored with just 0.3 of a second remaining in the quarter. Brilliant!  Roman Pilipenko scored from outside on the first attack of the final quarter to redress some of the imbalance. Japan was not finished yet and quick passing again delivered a telling blow with Arai for his second and Takuda Yoshida both scoring on counter for 12-5. Kohei Inaba converted extra with a shot cross cage off the right post after a timeout at 1:34. Mitsuru Takata became the 10th Japanese scorer on counter with 20 seconds left for the final 14-6 scoreline. Kazakhstan’s attempt at being the best in Asia has become even harder with just a 15-hour turnaround. Japan, on the other hand, wants to retain its supremacy right up until Tokyo 2020.

Flash quotes:

Yogi Omato (JPN) — Head Coach

“The most important game is tomorrow when we play Kazakhstan again. We want them to now that they have no chance against Japan. Last year we became Asian champions and played the Olympic Games. We must stay on top in Asian water polo. We could not beat Australia and USA so we cannot lose to Kazakhstan and China. We have that confidence.”

Alexey Shmider (KAZ) — Goal scorer

“We know them very well as we play them many times. Today our goal was to try some new tactics against them. We look forward to playing them tomorrow and finishing in third place.”

Picture: McKinnon Media