The Australian men’s water polo team, the Aussie Sharks, have
succumbed to the brilliance of Spain going down 13-9 in their third game
of the London Olympics.
In Gavin Wood's 350th game for Australia, and Richie Campbell's
150th, the Sharks were gallant in the first half trailing by just one at
the main break, before the fifth ranked Spain unleashed a powerful
counter-attack to control the Australian play.
Spain was able to convert defence into attack at will to run the
Aussie’s ragged and set up hulking centre forward Ivan Perez at the two
Australia tried valiantly to close the gap netting four times in the
final term, but the damage was done as a 4-1 third quarter all but
sealed the contest.
Coach John Fox was disappointed with the result and blamed a poor defensive effort in allowing Spain to dictate.
"Our defence in general wasn’t good,” Fox said.
"It’s been fantastic in our first two games, but today it was poor in general.
"We knew they would be strong on the counter, and we discussed that, so unfortunately we didn’t play to game plan.
"We gave them too many easy goals, while we had to battle for ours, and in the end that cost us.”
The only saving grace for the Sharks was a five goal haul by the resurgent Billy Miller.
The Sunshine Coast local played a lone hand as he netted four goals in the first half, including a treble in the second quarter.
While pleased with Miller’s efforts Fox urged all his boys to find that little extra.
"At the moment, we’re having different players step up,” he said. "It would be good to have them all firing on the same day.
"It’s good to see Billy return to form, we just need a couple of the other boys to step up as well.”
The Sharks opening goal – their best of the match - came after Rhys
Howden executed a brilliant one on one save down back, before his
Brisbane Barracudas teammate Miller found the back of the net with a
thunderous outside shot from the left pocket.
Miller again looked to lift his teammates in the second half, but the
Spanish continued to create havoc up front with 10 of their 11 field
players all finding the back of the net.
Spain now moves to second in the Group standings while Australia languishes perilously in fifth position.
The Sharks next game is against Croatia at 6.20pm on Saturday Perth time.