Big results across grades as Geraldton water polo winds down for year

Headshot of Reuben Carder
Reuben CarderMidwest Times
Nicole McAuley, with the ball, goes up against defender Sophie McPherson.
Camera IconNicole McAuley, with the ball, goes up against defender Sophie McPherson. Credit: Colin Sherman/Geraldton Guardian

The Geraldton Water Polo Association’s last round for the year threw up some interesting results, with the men’s country week side standing out and a junior star scoring in two grades.

On Saturday, the junior grades played out some thrilling matches.

Among the results, Nicole McAuley scored twice as Rats beat Serpents 5-3 in the junior girls division. She then scored again in women’s C-grade.

The composite side beat Rats in the junior boys, 8-5.

Those games served as a curtain-raiser for the rest of the weekend.

The association’s Julia Gourley said C-grade games have been particularly watchable this season, with the division well balanced, and that was likely to continue throughout.

“Women’s and men’s C-grade have had another good start to the season, and looking at the ladder it will definitely be competitive come finals time,” Ms Gourley said.

“C-grade finals are renowned for being edge-of-your-seat watching. The last two seasons they have gone into overtime in the finals, which is a shootout event.”

Among the results on Saturday, Rats Orange beat clubmates Rats White 5-1 in women’s C-grade as Sophia Kalajzich got two goals for the winners. McAuley scored one goal as Sally Harwood kept a tight ship in goal.

On Sunday, it was the A-grade’s turn.

Second-place beat first as B52’s won a thrilling match against Demons in the men’s, 12-10.

The country week squad had a big 14-4 win against Rats.

Men’s country week coach Russell McKinnon said the standard of play was a good sign as the association gears up to defend its men’s and women’s country week titles in March.

“The standard of play, both men and women, has really increased this year,” McKinnon said. “Players have just picked up, they’re doing State training one night a week, it’s an extra training for them, and they’re responding really well.

“Everybody has lifted.

“It (the country week squad’s performance) was an excellent team effort. Combinations came up very well and there was great defence, so it made it really hard for Rats.”

Kye Mcvee and Darcy Wiffen each scored two goals for Rats. Rhama Evans got one.

B52’s and Demons were tied at half-time before B52’s edged it.

Mick Rock, Flynn Scott, Jed Robertson and Kurt Tunbridge were among B52’s best.

Zacc Cross was a stand-out for Demons, scoring twice. He was joint-top scorer with Jack Cocking and Lachie Toomath.

McKinnon singled out Tunbridge, who plays for B52’s and country week, as one to watch. Tunbridge scored five times in the two games.

“He got through a power of work,” McKinnon said.

“He is just such an energetic player in front of goal. He’s having a stand-out season.”

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