TOUGH TEST: Australian Sharks player Lachlan Hollis in action against the US at the Kawana Aquatics Centre on Thursday.
TOUGH TEST: Australian Sharks player Lachlan Hollis in action against the US at the Kawana Aquatics Centre on Thursday. Tom Threadingham

US earn bragging rights after downing Australian squads

WATER POLO: The hard and fast attacking prowess of the United States proved too strong for the Australian Stingers and Sharks on Thursday with both sides suffering tough defeats at the Kawana Aquatic Centre.

It was always going to be a physical contest, but the US men and women claimed early bragging rights in what was the first of a two-match Test series against Australia.

Both countries are set to clash again on Friday.

Although it was a slow start, down 6-1 at half-time, the Stingers managed to claw their way back to a respectable 10-7 loss in their international clash.

Meanwhile, it was a much closer affair for the Australian men in the first half of their match, down just 4-2.

But the US were quick to put the foot on the pedal in the second half soaring to a 7-3 lead at one stage.

The Sharks never gave up and fought their way back to trail 8-6 early in the fourth quarter.

However, it wasn't to be with the Sharks going down 11-7.

Australian men's coach Elvis Fatovic said the outfit struggled from the start, but he'd expected a rusty outing considering it was the first camp since the world championships in July last year.

"The main problem started from the beginning and we were not sharp enough in our defence which means ultimately you're not sharp enough and have confidence in attack,” he said.

But, he was confident of a better outing in Friday's clash.

The Australian Sharks defend against an attacking move from the US at Kawana Aquatics Centre on Thursday,
The Australian Sharks defend against an attacking move from the US at Kawana Aquatics Centre on Thursday, Tom Threadingham

"We know that the Americans have an excellent centre forward and a couple of great shooters,” he said.

"We need to push them a little more in order to make them tired and then they'll struggle as well with some things.

"We'll try to change some things but also we must be aware that this is the first camp after the world championships with these players and we need some time.”

Sharks captain, and Rio Olympian, Joe Kayes said the US were the "perfect training” partners and, despite the loss, relished the opportunity to get some game time with the squad.

"It was a pretty tough game out there and it always is with them,” Kayes said.

"The score probably wasn't reflective on how the game went but it was tough and it was a good hit out for us (being) the first time we'd been together for a while.

"For the older half (of the team) it's always nice to get back together and for the younger boys who've just come into the squad it's nice to get those nerves out.”

Rio Olympian and Australian Stinger Keesja Gofers said the women would concentrate on tightening defence in order to get the upper-hand in Friday's contest.

"They (US) came out a lot harder than us today (Thursday) and they started the game really well and scored a lot of early goals,” she said.

"So we're really looking to tomorrow's game to come out harder and make it a 0-0 first quarter if it has to be.”

Australia v USA

-Friday, March 30 Women: 5-6.30pm Men: 6.30-8pm

Tickets are available at the gate for just $5 for adults and $2 for children.



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