Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gold Coast, Australia, April 30.— Australia defeated United States of America 8-6 to win the men’s water polo FINA World League Intercontinental Tournament at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre today.

Picture: Harvie Allison Photography

Australia finished undefeated in a tough encounter that had USA 2-0 ahead in the first period.

In the bronze-medal encounter, Japan had to come from 2-0 down against Kazakhstan, and produce a 7-3 final quarter, to win 12-7. It was a tough encounter with Japan scoring its first goal late in the second quarter.

The play-off for fifth, New Zealand went one better than on day two, beating China 5-4. On day two, New Zealand was two ahead in the final quarter and lost by two.

The top four teams will now meet Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Russia in the Super Final in Ruza, Russia on June 20-25

Final placings (top four qualify for Super Final):

1. Australia

.2. United States of America

3. Japan

4. Kazakhstan

5. New Zealand

6. China



Most Valuable Player: Joe Kayes (AUS)

Best Goalkeeper: Alexander Wolf (USA)

Highest Goal-scorer: Johnathan Hooper (USA), 20 goals


Match reports:

Match 16. 09:20, CHINA 4 NEW ZEALAND 5

Classification 5-6

Quarters: 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 1-2

Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Yusuke Kajiwara (JPN).

Penalties: CHN: 1/1.

Extra Man: CHN: 2/10. NZL: 3/5.


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

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


New Zealand turned the tables on a day-two loss to China after leading,, twice going two up and satisfyingly finishing fifth. The first half had New Zealand ahead by one, but that could have been much different. The two major factors were New Zealand’s poor passing, which China snapped up frequently, and secondly, incredible Kiwi goalkeeper Sid Dymond. He made multiple saves, thwarting what could have been a higher total for China. Captain Mathew Small opened the scoring for the Kiwis with and six-metre shot for his eighth goal of the tournament. Matthew Morris increased the margin to two at 7:19 in the second quarter on extra from deep right. It took until 2:50 for Yu Liu to get China on the board, scoring from extra in the deep left position. The Kiwis tried a timeout ploy with four seconds left only to lose the ball on the first pass. China had the better of the third period snapping in two quick goals midway with Zhong Xian Chen scoring on extra and Yi Chen converting a penalty for the 3-2 lead. The Kiwis came back through Matthew Bryant on extra, fumbling the ball then rocketing it into the top left for the equaliser, which was the last score of the quarter. The Kiwis went two up at the start of the fourth through Matthew Lewis on extra and then Anton Sunde with a lob on drive at 4:02. New Zealand knew what it was like to lead by two over China and lose, doing the on day two when 7-5 ahead and losing 7-9. China gained a chance at 1:27 when it put a third major on Small.  The final shot on extra was blocked by Dymond with the ball three-quarters across the line. China gained another chance late in the match. But failed to put away a quick shot, instead going the full possession time and scoring through Wen Hui Lu at 0:07 for 5-4. New Zealand went away with a win like China, but won the one that counted.

Flash quotes:

Goran Sablic (NZL) — Head Coach

“Finally, it was was our first game we followed (game plan) what we agreed. We played today as a team and got the final result. The problem is (because of the lack of pool facilities) at home we play 22-23m courses and here we play 30m. This is a totally different sport.. The best thing is (the players) see a higher level of water polo. We must be more aware and must work hard to reach this level. Not twice the effort but 10 times. Water polo is a very physical and demanding sport.”

Sid Dymond (NZL) — Goalkeeper

“We finished with a W, which was real cool. We have such a young team with nine players making their (international) debuts. It was a nice way to cap off the week after some disheartening losses.”

Picture: McKinnon Media 

Match 17, 10:40, JAPAN 12 KAZAKHSTAN 7

Classification 3-4

Quarters: 0-2, 1-0, 4-2, 7-3

Referees: Michael Brook (NZL), Haziel Ortega (USA)

Penalties: Nil.

Extra Man: JPN: 6/11. KAZ: 2/5.


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

KAZAKHSTAN: Madikhan Makhmetov, Yevgeniy Medvedev (2), Egor Berbelyuk (1), Roman Pilipenko (2, Miras Aubakirov, Alexey Shmider (1), Murat Shakenov, Yulian Verdesh, Altay Altayev (1), Bolat Turlykhanov, Ravil Manafov, Stanislav Shvedov, Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.


Japan beat Kazakhstan 14-6 on Saturday night and expected to win easily considering it was an Olympic team with many Olympians in action. Kazakhstan has some older players and many youngsters new to this level of water polo. So what a shock it was for Japan and the spectators when it was trailing 2-0 until late in the half. Roman Pilipenko shocked first with a lob off a free throw from wide left. Egor Berbelyuk followed it up three minutes later on counter-attack, accepting a cross pass to make it 2-0. Japan’s best chance was a last-gasp tip shot on the buzzer. The second quarter was all defence with Kazakhstan having no success after its timeout. Japan was desperate by now and went to a timeout at 1:30. Success finally came when Seiya Adachi converted the extra-man situation 11 seconds later off a swift cross pass. Japan had broken the drought. It only took a minute in the third period for Japan to level — through Atsuto Iida from the top — and then Keigo Okawa to convert extra for a 3-2 lead. Goals were swapped, but this time it was Kazakhstan playing catch-up. Alexey Shmider with a lob and captain Yevgeniy Medvedev from an isolated position, scored either side of a Yusuke Shimizu centre-forward smash. Japan had the last say when Atsushi Arai scored from the top after extra-man advantage had expired for 5-4 at 0:49, the last score of the period. Shimizu stretched the margin to two when after the exclusion period had elapsed he accepted a high ball at centre forward and dragged it back into goal for 6-4. Iida lobbed for 7-4 and Pilipenko scored on extra from the far post after several Kazakh attack saw the ball return to their hands. Altay Altayev made the most of Katsuyuki Tanamura coming out of goal to bring the score to 7-6 at 4:14. Okawa and Adachi scored their seconds in quick success and Kazakhstan called a timeout but lost the ball on the first pass and Japan made it pay the penalty with a goal to Arai for 10-6. Mitsuaki Shiga drilled a cross-cage, Kohei Inaba made the sheet and, at 0:45, Japan was 12-6 up. Bolat Turlykhanov (KAZ) was red-carded for dissent after the Shiga goal. Medvedev pulled one back off the right post. Japan went to a timeout, but nothing more adjusted the scoreboard. A 7-2 final quarter was more like what Japan does and similar to the clash with Australia.

Flash quotes:

Yoji Omato (JPN) — Head Coach

“We could score in the first half, making many mistakes. That’s why we were not so good. Normally Japan teams like counter-attack. They (Kazakhstan) didn’t come into the three-three (format) so we couldn’t make the counter-attack. We are proud of how we scored five goals against Australia in the final quarter and did the same thing again today.”

Alexey Shmider (KAZ) — Goal-scorer

“We started well and tried to control the match. In the first half it was under our control, I think. The third quarter was also good. In the fourth we tired and Japan used our tiredness to score many goal on contra-attack. We kept the ball in many situations, but we have many young players with little experience.”

Picture: McKinnon Media



Classification 1-2

Quarters: 3-2, 2-2, 1-1, 2-1

Referees: Dragan Stampalija (CRO), Vojin Putnikovic (SRB).

Penalties: Nil.

Extra Man: AUS: 2/5. USA: 2/4.


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

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


USA was out for amends following the 12-8 loss in the rounds and had a two-goal margin by 5:44. Johnathan Hooper scored on a drive and Nolan McConnell caught everyone napping with an outside shot that was not contested. Luke Pavillard responded at 2:57 for the home team in front of a large crowd when he drilled one on extra from deep right. Having multi-Olympian Johnno Cotterill come north to play the last three matches was a Godsend for Australia. He scored six yesterday and scored twice more to lift the Sharks to the lead. One was on extra and the second from his unaccustomed centre-forward position with a backhand to bring up the first break.  Nicholas Brooks went on counter to lift the margin to two at the start of the second quarter. Matthew De Trayne responded for the USA on extra when two Aussies were sidelined. Captain Joe Kayes took it out to 5-3 with a one-on-one score. Both teams took timeouts and squandered chances, although USA made the most of some poor defence with a Hooper drive nine seconds from time. James Fannon converted extra from the top for another two-goal lead, midway through the third period. Olympian Alex Roelse responded on extra after a swift pass from Hooper, allowing Roelse to drag the ball backwards into goal for 6-5 at 3:01. No further goals came with so much defence, especially from the goalkeepers. The pressure continued in the fourth quarter with a gold medal at stake. Kayes finessed a goal from centre forward after several backhand attempts not working. He turned slightly and slid the ball into goal as Alexander Wolf left his line and went out to Kayes. A minute later Hannes Daube screamed in a bouncing shot from eight metres for 7-6 and the match was still very much alive. Kayes gained an exclusion in what was a torrid time in the hole position and coach Elvis Fatovic called a timeout at 2:29. There were several errors by both teams and finally Australia had a strong attack. USA pressed and thought it had won the ball. Fannon managed to keep possession, fired the ball down to the unattended Pavillard in the right pocket and he made no mistake with the shot and the Aussie Sharks had won the final.

Flash quotes:

Joe Kayes (AUS) — Captain and two goals
“Tough is an understatement. It was all out war out there today. I was getting smashed, I don’t think I kept my head up for very long. The boys played really well. We knew it would be a totally different game to what we played the other day against the USA — the boys out wide opened up in the corner, which was really nice for me. It seems to be the same old story with us, we take a few (goals) before we really wake up. Today we did well to really give it to ourselves. We took it on ourselves to lift back up and we did well leading into the end of that first quarter and into halftime. It was an absolute pleasure to captain these boys, the young ones; five on debut; good to see every game they picked up a lot and we saw that in the final compared to when they played earlier in the week. Personally he (Wolf) gave me a headache all week and I was just happy to slot a few past him. Like I said, our boys out wide were extremely dangerous today so it was a good result in the end.”

Elvis Fatovic (AUS) — Head Coach
“We were pretty confident in our defence, and when you are confident in defence then everything is different on the other side. That was the key in this tournament. We knew we had some players who could create some opportunity in attack individually and as a team. I’m very happy with our improvement in defence. For me, in every team sport, this is the most important thing. I like how we played as a team. The team spirit we have had in the last two weeks, I’m impressed with; our senior group and how they approach this tournament and how they support the younger guys. We always have good team spirit — I can compare to teams in Europe and it’s what I like about Australia. Good team spirit.”

Dejan Udovicic (USA) — Head Coach
“It was an open game and we started well but we made several big mistakes and it cost us the win. (The tournament) gave the opportunity for the younger players to show if we can count on them in the future. The youngsters proved they are going in the right direction. I am satisfied they have the energy, motivation and approach. We came to qualify and we did that.” 

Picture: McKinnon Media