Learning from the wave makers

21 May 2024

ADF couldn’t sustain the wave of success enjoyed on day one, but continued to play hard until the end at the Water Polo Australia Country Championships on the Gold Coast from May 8-11.

Defence teams won all games bar one on the opening day, but struggled to maintain the momentum against state-level sides, with the men finishing 6th and women 7th.

Men’s captain-coach Flight Lieutenant Peter Spearman said playing in such a high-level competition was an excellent experience.

“There was a professional player in one of the teams and players that represent Australia nationally, so it is tough but not out of reach for us,” Flight Lieutenant Spearman said.

“We can still play competitively against the teams and against the players as opposed to being just overwhelmed.”

After going down in all games on day two, the ADF men's team fought back on day three for a draw with the eventual third-placed Queensland Maroons, and a win over the Queensland development team.

A standout performance came from Bombardier Drew Lilleyman, who was the tournament’s top scorer with 33 goals.

Women’s captain Able Seaman Alexandra Christie said despite only four ADF women able to attend, they gelled quickly with their draft players at the tournament. 

“It was a bit nerve wracking going into the first game and having only met six of our players half an hour before we played,” Able Seaman Christie said.

“Everyone really brought the energy for that game and we came out with the win. Unfortunately it was the only one for the tournament, but we played some solid games with tight scores.” 

Men’s utility Corporal Alex Jones said while water polo was an intense sport, a strong social base made it friendly and accepting.

The ADF Water Polo Association competes in civilian tournaments like the Country Championships and Canberra Cup to build ties with the community.

“That's my favourite part of playing with the Defence team. It's just about getting to represent the ADF and interacting in the community as well,” Corporal Jones said.

If you would like to get involved with water polo, the upcoming Inter-Service Carnival is open to all skill levels. Contact defencewaterpolo.admin@defence.gov.au to find out more.



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