The pressure was right on the South Fremantle Bloods to complete their perfect season in the Men’s A-Grade competition for 2020 and they produced an impressive Grand Final performance to deliver an 11-6 win against Triton.
With the result in the Women’s Grand Final sending a reminder that nothing is guaranteed no matter how dominant a team has been all season with the Melville Marlins shocking Applecross, the Bloods came into the Grand Final at Bicton Pool desperate to not suffer the same fate.
South Fremantle had been the dominant team throughout the Men’s A-Grade competition for 2020 going through undefeated, but Melville opponents the Port Colts had been outstanding too.
The two teams played out a stunning South Conference decider the previous Saturday also at Bicton Pool that had to be decided in penalties.
Triton had faced stiff opposition to reach the Grand Final as well taking out the crown in the North Conference following a 10-6 victory against UWA Flotsam.
With a team full of veterans including Olympians Luke Quinlivan and Florian Naroska along with Australian Water Polo League stalwart Brett McGhie and rising stars Lewis Putt and Matt Oberman, Triton weren’t without a sniff but they would have to deliver their best to overcome the Bloods.
South Fremantle managed to get off to a good start in the Grand Final to ease some of those nerves and the pressure around completing their perfect season. The Bloods scored the game’s opening two goals thanks to Alex Gunnell and Nicholas Elphick.
However, in the second quarter Triton responded and showed impressive fighting quality in the hot pool at Bicton with goals to Matt Oberman and Gabriel Tebar to leave scores tied at 2-2 by half-time with the change of ends.
That meant the game was right on the line heading into the second half and it was Triton who took the lead for first time in the Grand Final with a goal to Zoltan Ridzyk.
South Fremantle responded soon after thanks to Alastair Bruce before they gained the advantage with two more from Luke Pavillard and Elphick again.
Triton weren’t going away, though, and got one back through Oberman but the Bloods were on top 6-4 by three quarter-time after another goal to Tobias Muir.
The job for Triton became tougher with South Fremantle scoring first in the fourth term through Elijah Neesham but they did stay within striking distance with an answering goal to Mitchal Ainsworth.
But two more goals to the Bloods from Alastair Bruce and Elphick to put them up 9-5 which all but sealed the deal and they would go on to win 11-6 and claim the premiership and complete the perfect undefeated season in the process.
By the end of the Grand Final, Nicholas Elphick had scored three goals for the South Fremantle Bloods and he received the MVP of the game as a result.
Alex Gunnell also scored two goals for the Bloods as did Luke Pavillard who ended up receiving the fairest and best award for the Men’s A-Grade competition season in 2020.
Gabriel Tebar and Matt Oberman ended up scoring two goals apiece in the Grand Final for Triton.