A SCORCHING shot from one of Australia’s best with just two seconds left in the first quarter was the turning point for Pool Pirates as they careered away from Sharks in the A Grade men’s water polo grand final yesterday.
In torrential rain the powerhouses of the Ovens and Murray competition traded blows in the first stanza with the Sharks the first to score with 53 seconds left.
But that sparked the Pirates into scoring almost immediately and then Australian rep and Victorian Seals’ Blake Edwards fired a bounce shot from the best part of 15 metres to make it 2-1 at the first break.
Edwards, and brother Anthony, with the help of Pirates keeper Steve Sloan, then turned the contest into a procession with the final margin 21-6.
It was the only joy for Pirates whose teams in the B grade men and A and B grade women had all been beaten earlier in the day.
Coach Matt O’Connell heaped praise on a team effort that delivered a three-peat for the club.
“It ended up easier than expected,” he said.
“It was a tough battle in the first quarter but then we just out swam them and out powered them.
“Blake and Anthony Edwards along with Steve Sloan, Danny Nugent the whole team had a crack at it and hopefully we can field the same team next year and look to make it four in a row.
“Blake’s goal in the dying seconds of that first quarter really was the start of our domination and it was full steam ahead from there.
“It is some consolation for the club after the early losses.”
In the women’s A grade final Sharks made a mockery of a penalty shootout loss in the major semi by hitting the water and the back of goal from the opening whistle.
They dominated the first quarter and went on to win a one-sided contest 18-7 over Pool Pirates in again torrential rain.
Coach Greg Williams said they had been forced to play catch up polo in recent clashes.
“We realised we had to go out hard, the last three times they have got the jump on us and forced us to play catch up but this time the game plan was to out and make them chase us up and down the pool,” he said.
“After that we played a lot of possession polo.
“Fantastic players today were Brooke Dickie and Leah Dodd but the whole team were contributors, even when the four or five on the bench got in the water they too were phenomenal, it was just an all-round performance.
“It really boiled down to the intensity and determination from the start and they played that way for the rest of the game, there was no lull.”