THE 2020 OVO Australian Water Polo League wasn’t able to reach its natural conclusion this season but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to like from a West Australian perspective with the performances of the Fremantle Marlins/Mariners and UWA Torpedoes.
Water Polo Australia was left with no choice but to call a premature finish to the 2020 AWL season due to the outbreak of Coronavirus and with all sports all round the world either shutting down or being postponed, not to mention all non-essential activities as a whole.
The 2020 OVO AWL season ended up being called to a close following Round 6 leaving the final two rounds and the finals to be unplayed.
It might be hard to be satisfied without a conclusion to a season and premiers crowned, but in this global crisis it’s just a reality that we all have to accept and now look ahead to hopefully an uninterrupted run in 2021 for the start of the new season should everything go well between now and then.
For the two West Australian teams in the competition, that meant their last round of competition was the four-game, four-day road trip to Sydney where they played two games apiece against the University of NSW Wests Killer Whales and Magpies, and the UTS Balmain Tigers.
Following that road trip, the season was called to a halt and in the women’s competition, that saw the Fremantle Marlins end up in fourth position with a 9-5 record while the UWA Torpedoes finished up with two wins and 12 defeats.
As for the two WA teams on the men’s side of the competition, the Fremantle Mariners ended up in third position on the standings at 9-5 while the Torpedoes weren’t far behind in sixth with five wins and nine losses.
There’s a real chance that both WA teams would have taken part in finals should the season have come to its natural conclusion.
On the bigger picture, in the women’s competition it was the Sydney Uni Lions who went through the six rounds undefeated to end up on top of the table. They won all 14 of their matches and ended up with a positive goal differential of 80.
The Queensland Thunder finished second with a 10-4 record while the Balmain Tigers were third at 9-3. The Fremantle Marlins were then fourth at 9-5 ahead of the UNSW Killer Whales (8-4), Cronulla Sharks (5-9), Drummoyne Devils (5-5), UWA Torpedoes (2-12), Adelaide Jets (2-10) and Hunter Hurricanes (0-12).
The Fremantle Marlins were putting together another strong season and Zoe Arancini once again showed her class scoring 37 goals to lead the charge.
Jess Zimmerman also scored 28 goals for the Marlins, Sarah Siepker 17, Madeleine Quinn 13, Sofia Chaves, Erin Redbond 10 and Ria Rodgers.
It was tough going again in 2020 for the Torpedoes but Kim Johnson was a standout finishing the campaign with 33 goals. Dayna O’Leary also scored 19 goals, Pippa Pedley 13 and Madi Rigo 10.
As for the men’s competition for 2020, it was also the Sydney Uni Lions who finished on top of the standings after 14 matches and the six rounds. They ended up with 11 wins, two losses and a draw.
The UNSW Wests Magpies were breathing right down their necks, however, and had 11 wins and one loss from their 12 matches.
So they had two games in hand on the Lions and also had a dominant goal differential of 97, having averaged scoring 15.9 goals per game and conceding just the 7.8. That meant they had the best offence and defence in the competition.
The Fremantle Mariners (9-5) were then third finishing ahead of Drummoyne Devils (8-1-1), Balmain Tigers (8-4), UWA Torpedoes (5-9), Hunter Hurricanes (4-8), Queensland Thunder (4-10), Cronulla Sharks (3-11) and Adelaide Jets (0-12).
There was plenty to like from the way the Mariners performed through their 14 matches across the six rounds at both ends of the pool headed up by Torpedoes recruit Damian Williams in the cage.
In attack, Rio Olympian Joel Swift led the way at centre forward scoring 25 goals while Luke Pavillard also scored 23 goals, Pol Barbena Triola 22, Jordan Kremers-Taylor 17, Petar Tomasevic 15, James Fannon 14, Harry Bruce 13, Tom Prior 12, Will McKay 11 and Cody Smith 11.
As for the Torpedoes, they continued to take significant strides forward too and captain Nick Hughes ended up top-scoring with 20 goals for the season.
Bogdan Djerkovic also scored 18 goals for the Torpedoes, Jeremie Cote 18, Albert Llovera Castillo 18, Lewis Putt 13, Matt Oberman 10 and Sam Rowbottam nine.