IT was western derby time in the National Water Polo League on Friday night with the UWA Torpedoes men and Fremantle Marlins women gearing up for this week’s finals in Sydney.
It was a big finish to the 2017 season in the national league at UWA Aquatic Centre hosting the Fremantle teams on Friday night with upwards of 500 people in attendance.
The night got underway with the women’s contest with the Fremantle Marlins needing to beat the Torpedoes to consolidate second position heading into the finals.
It was a dominant display by the Marlins who won 12-2 with three goals each to Zoe Arancini and Madeleine Quinn, and two to Pia Rodgers.
American import Kingsley Hill scored both goals for UWA.
While the Fremantle Mariners men were out of finals contention, they were unlucky to not be in the top six.
They were desperate to try to interrupt the Torpedoes preparations for the finals and dent their confidence in defending their championship victory from last year.
UWA managed to lead the whole game but it wasn’t without a scare.
The Torpedoes led 8-5 at three quarter-time, but two quick Fremantle goes made it interesting before the home team pulled away to win 11-8.
Captain Nick Hughes was the star for UWA with four goals while Lach Pethick and Florian Naroska scored twice. Nick Elphick added three goals for Fremantle, James Fannon two and Tim Neesham two.
Torpedoes goalkeeper Luke Quinlivan is playing the last season of his now 319 game national career that has included regular Australian representation.
He is proud to be going out still at the top of his game but it was an easy decision to retire.
“I definitely think that’s a better way to go out than being forced out because you just won’t leave,” Quinlivan said.
“If I got to my late 30s and I was starting to really struggle and someone’s tapping you on the shoulder to go because you just won’t leave, if I had my choice I’d like to be going out this way.
“Irrespective of what happens at finals, there are absolutely no regrets and I’ve enjoyed it but this wasn’t a hard decision. I love the sport, the guys and the club, and I love to play, but your priorities start to change and that’s part of growing up and being a man, and having a life.”
The finals now get underway on Friday at Sydney’s brand new Pymble Ladies College Aquatic Centre.
The Torpedoes men take on the Brisbane Barracudas in an elimination final.
The Fremantle Marlins then face the UTS Balmain Tigers also in an elimination final.
NATIONAL WATER POLO LEAGUE ELIMINATIONAL FINALS
FRIDAY APRIL 7 – PYMBLE LADIES COLLEGE AQUATIC CENTRE, SYDNEY
Fremantle Marlins v UTS Balmain Tigers – 1.30pm WST
UWA Torpedoes v Brisbane Barracudas – 12pm WST