The Fours Report: Wollongong

Under the watchful eye of Wollongong’s Breakwater lighthouse, 10 teams laid their towels on the sand, put on their swimmers (from Delfina, of course) and lined up for Beach Water Polo Fours Wollongong. In what began as an overcast morning with plenty of jumpers and whispers of “where is the bloody sun?”, the sand soon turned almost too hot to stand on, with people searching for shade under the big, blue BWP4s marquee.

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Out in full force were the teams from Illawarra, claiming their territory on home soil with a tent that was freshly picked up from the factory for the big day. We can only assume this display was a strategic and not-so-subtle move from the four Illawarra teams to get inside the opponent’s heads. With the majority of the team members all returning participants from last year’s event at Bundeena, what they gave up in traditional water polo experience, they made up for in their inside knowledge of not only our patented Beach Water Polo Fours rules, but also their home turf advantage.

Reigning champions The Mooses were one of the first to cap up and test their luck at the title again, however this time they were sans Moose, rebranding themselves to The Mooseless. Led by two-time Olympian Johnno Coterill, they dominated the rules once again, giving teams a lesson of how to use the substitute rules to their advantage. Unable to have their name engraved on the champions trophy for the second time, it is without a doubt that Moose will be secretly chuffed that the team finished in third place.

A major feature of the day was the low tide, which provided a welcome reprieve for some of our less abled egg beaters and turned some fairly average goal keepers into absolute superstars. As the day went on and the tide came in, it certainly led to a few more well-earned breathers on the inflatable Packaworld course.

Passers-by and spectators were treated to some spectacular play in the natural amphitheatre of the Harbour and they were treated to more than just the action in the pool; Re-enacting the movie Twister, Wollongong sent a mini cyclone our way, upheaving tents and sending umbrellas and towels into the car park (which we can laugh about now that it has been 24 hours). With the kind help of everyone on the beach, the Beach Water Polo Fours community was able to safely secure the tents and break for lunch just in time for the arrival of the Sneaky Burger truck.

The elements and mouth-watering food couldn’t throw The Beaches off their game as their eyes were clearly focused on the Beach Water Polo Fours champion trophy from the minute they arrived. There were whispers that the team put in a strong off-season after their unceremonious exit last year and they proved the rumours true as they remained undefeated throughout the day. Injured team member Madeline Rosenthal had the best seat in the house, watching dual Water Polo Olympians Ash Southern and Holly Young join the team from her referee pontoon and pink inflatable flamingo. It was certainly an Olympic family affair when Holly was joined by her Winter Olympian Skeleton racer sister, Emma Lincoln-Smith. Emma and Holly are used to setting the bar high, being the first siblings to compete for Australia at the Summer and Winter Olympics respectively. Perhaps it was this talent that saw the team raise the trophy at the end of the day, but if you ask us, we will say it was because almost every player was wearing the new range of Beach Water Polo Fours Delfina swimwear. 

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The Baa Baas meant official business at Wollongong Harbour and we mean that quite literally, with Chris Shaw, a Director of Water Polo NSW, leading the boys into the grand final. Having representatives from four different countries, they were able to flick the switch and put their international knowledge into action on the field throughout the day. The team however, were humbly defeated in the game that mattered, with the men’s trophy claimed by the four cheeses that were Quattro Fromaggio. After 8 rounds of penalty shootouts in the semi, the team showed no fatigue in the grand final, finishing the second half with a match winning golden goal. The lean, green Delfina BWP4s swim brief wearing (not mean) machine, Luke Northcott made his second return from retirement for the silverware and the chance to play with his team of ex-housemates.

A huge thanks to all of our amazing partners and suppliers for their help and making the day so memorable – Actuex, Delfina, Packaworld, Kap7, Sneaky Burger and Wollongong City Surf Club and Destination Wollongong . Check out all the scores and results on the website and make sure you register for our next event at Bundeena on January 5th!

Emma Brown