Brisbane to host water polo extravaganza

Justin Chadwick
·2-min read

Brisbane will host the 2021 Australian Water Polo League, with the new format to be squeezed into eight days of action instead of the planned 12 weeks.

Ten clubs will take part, with the teams from Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle, and Sydney all relocating to Brisbane for the tournament.

With international travel unlikely before the Tokyo Olympics, the competition will serve as an important tune-up and selection battle for Australia's elite water polo athletes ahead of the Games.

The tournament will run from March 31 to April 7.

The two-week Australian Youth Water Polo Championships will kick off on April 7.

The 2021 Australian Water Polo League was originally scheduled to be a 12-week competition, but the new format has been designed to provide clubs with the greatest degree of certainty in the COVID-19 climate, as well as maximise the chances of the full event being delivered.

The competition format in 2021 will see teams split in two pools of five, with the pool stages to be held from March 31 to April 4

The crossover matches will be on April 5, the semi-finals on April 6, and the final on April 7.

"For the first time in the sport's history we will bring together the Australian Water Polo League and Australian Youth Championships in a true celebration of our sport, from our 12-year-olds through to our current Olympians," Water Polo Australia chief executive Richard McInnes said.

"The final of the Australian Water Polo League will be held on the opening night of the Australian Youth Championships, providing junior players the opportunity to see the heroes of the sport in action."

Triple Olympian and Queensland Thunder star Bronwen Knox said the tournament would be vital in the lead-up to the Olympics.

"The Australian Water Polo League will be there as a selection criteria for us," Knox said.

"So we've got to be there, we've got to perform, we've got to put on a great show.

"And we'll be competing directly against each other in the water. It's going to be highly competitive, a lot of pressure, and we'll see who shines under that pressure."

The Australian women's water polo team, known as the Aussie Stingers, won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and bronze at the 2008 and 2012 Games.

The Australian men's water polo team, known as the Aussie Sharks, are yet to reach a semi-finals at the Olympics.