IT ended up a fascinating and thrilling finish to the Men’s A-Grade competition regular season on Saturday with Triton only securing top spot in the North Conference thanks to a one-goal win while the South Fremantle Bloods confirmed their perfect campaign.
The Round 10 action on Saturday afternoon marked the end of the regular season in the Men’s A-Grade competition ahead of two weeks of finals action, and the eight teams combined to put on some fascinating contests with the results meaning plenty.
While the standings were guaranteed already in the South Conference coming into the final round, it remains hard to distinguish between the outstanding form that both the South Fremantle Bloods and Port Colts are in.
They both continued their winning ways on Saturday with the Port Colts defeating UWA Rangers 25-9 at HBF Stadium while the South Fremantle Bloods prevailed 14-7 against UWA Flotsam at Bicton Pool.
That result proved pivotal in terms of the standings in the North Conference with Triton then guaranteeing them a top spot finish. They hard to do it the hard way, though, with a 13-12 victory against Dolphins.
The other match up on Saturday afternoon also took place at Bicton Pool and that saw UWA City Beach come away with a 15-3 win against the shorthanded Melville Sharks.
So what that all meant after 10 rounds of the Men’s A-Grade competition in 2021 was that in the South Conference, the South Fremantle Bloods claimed top spot with a perfect 10-0 record.
They were only just ahead of Port Colts, though, who are in hot form at 8-2 to finish in front of the Melville Sharks (3-7) and Dolphins (1-9).
Things were then even tighter in the North Conference and it was Triton who claimed top position with a 7-3 record. They were just the one win ahead of UWA Flotsam who finished at 6-4.
UWA City Beach were strongly competitive throughout the season too to finish with a 4-6 record to end up ahead of UWA Rangers who finished with the one win and nine losses.
That all sets the stage for the Conference Finals this Saturday in what should be a tremendous afternoon of water polo.
Things get underway at 1.15pm at HBF Stadium’s Outdoor Pool with UWA City Beach and UWA Rangers fighting over third position in the North Conference.
The winners of the North Conference will then be determined from 2.30pm with Triton playing UWA Flotsam. The winner will advance to the following Saturday’s Men’s A-Grade Grand Final against the South Conference victors.
Things get underway at Bicton Pool from 1.30pm with the battle for third position in the South Conference between the Melville Sharks and Dolphins.
The spot in the Grand Final and premiers of the South Conference is then all on the line from 2.45pm with the South Fremantle Bloods hosting Port Colts.
Going back to the Round 10 action and it all began at HBF Stadium with Triton taking on Dolphins.
After Triton scored first through Ross Field, Dolphins found some of their best form of the season and goals thanks to Jeremy Carbone, Chris Reynolds, Kieraan Meyer and then Carbone again helped them to a 4-2 quarter-time lead.
Both teams enjoyed the free-flowing water polo in the second quarter combining for eight goals in the eight minutes, but in the end it was Dolphins still leading 8-6 by half-time with the change of ends.
The scoring certainly didn’t let up in the third quarter with Triton going on to score five goals to three from Dolphins to see scores locked at 11-11 heading into the fourth stanza.
Brad Mercer then put Triton in front to start the fourth quarter before Meyer levelled things up for Dolphins. The game was then decided when Brett McGhie converted his 5m penalty with four minutes remaining to give Triton the 13-12 victory.
Brett McGhie finished with five goals for Triton, Brad Mercer four and Ross Field two. Kieraan Meyer scored five goals for Dolphins and Jeremy Carbone three.
Meyer received the three votes after the game, Peter Gaunt his Dolphins teammate two and McGhie one.
Then also at HBF Stadium, the UWA Rangers played host to the Port Colts.
The Port Colts came in on the back of some impressive form and continued that in the first quarter putting in six goals to two from the Rangers.
They then went up another gear in the second period with another nine goals to one to lead 15-3 by half-time.
To the Rangers credit, they fought hard in the second half limiting the Port Colts to outscoring them 10-6 on the way to the eventual 25-9 win.
Cody Smith continued his hot form for the Port Colts as well and hit another nine goals with Harry Bruce adding six, Luca Altieri four, Jordan Kremers-Taylor three and Sam Quinn two.
Ben Marshall scored three goals for Rangers, Will Marshall three and Daniel Toleman two.
Smith was given the three votes, Quinn two and Kremers-Taylor one.
The other two matches took place at Bicton Pool starting with the Melville Sharks playing UWA City Beach.
UWA got off to the flying start with the only three goals of the first quarter thanks to Scott Lilleyman, Lachie Emanuel and Charlie Emanuel.
They continued on with that momentum with Owen Lilleyman, Lachie Emanuel, Sam Rowbottam and Tyler Fazio all scoring in the second period to make it a 7-0 lead before the Sharks did get on the board thanks to Harry Grattidge.
UWA added another four goals to one in the third quarter, and four to one in the fourth to take away the 15-3 win.
Sam Rowbottam finished with three goals for City Beach, Charlie Emanuel three, Lachie Emanuel two and Sam Rowbottam two.
Lachie Emanuel received the three votes, Rowbottam two and Sharks goalkeeper Flynn Mais one.
Then finally also at Bicton Pool, it was the South Fremantle Bloods playing UWA Flotsam.
The Bloods did score first thanks to Alastair Bruce but Flotsam had come to play and responded through Mitch Barns. South Fremantle did go into quarter-time leading 2-1 after a goal to Elijah Neesham, but it was back level early in the second term with a Flotsam goal to Phil Salter.
Things remained tight and were 5-5 by half-time but the Bloods pulled away in the third quarter which proved pivotal in the final results. South Fremantle scored in the third term through Nick Elphick, Neesham, Neesham again, Craig Bruce, Alastair Bruce and Elphick again.
That saw the Bloods lead 11-5 and they went on to win 14-7 to go through the season undefeated.
Alastair Bruce finished with five goals for South Fremantle, Nick Elphick four and Elijah Neesham three. Nick Hughes hit three goals for Flotsam, Phil Salter two and Mitch Barns two.
Elphick was given the three votes, Alastair Bruce two and Nick Hughes one.