The Fours Report: Manly
After a smattering of showers all day Friday, the outlook for Beach Water Polo Fours Manly looked grim – but as always, the show must go on and luckily for Beach Water Polo Fours, Poseidon gifted us with two unreal days of water polo at our most iconic venue to date.
With the first Manly ferry arriving as a scenic back drop, the women’s and mixed competitions swam off in style. Five teams in each competition were vying it out to be the respective champions with a number of teams establishing themselves early on.
In the mixed competition we saw the ‘Dysfunctional Family’ team operating at actually quite a functional level, mastering substitutions and drawing on years of domestic arbitration to figure out how best to score against their opponents. ‘Smiley Fritz’, a team of former Adelaidian ex-pats who share a mutual love for devon based sandwiches, were quick to gain form over the morning and set themselves up for the semi-finals. Ryde 1 and 2 started the day off in a huge rivalry clash between, with Ryde 1 getting the 2 points and Ryde 2 getting 0 points, sending our officials table into a confused daze with so many similar numbers being called in from the refs. However it was the Stingers Mixed team that took home the cup this time, led by Tall Tyler, a man with a wing span that allowed him to make it from one end of the field to the other in one stroke. Resembling more of an octopus than his stinger namesake, Tyler lead his team to the ultimate victory in the final 2-0 over Dysfunctional Family.
Meanwhile, the women’s competition saw a number of veterans making their way back into the water including The Beaches Holly Young and Dolphins Lea Yanitsas. With both Olympic stars having grown up in the Northern Beaches, a return to where it all began was inevitable and with their very own Hollywood Boulevard walk of fame style plaques overlooking the event, these two were eager to give the locals a show. HTNL2019 was off to a flying start, quickly racking up wins against all opponents in the preliminary rounds asserting themselves as the team to beat. Beer Battered and the Stingers Women threw their hats into the ring as well, with some crafty play from Beer Battered against the experienced Dolphins resulting in our much-anticipated penalty shoot out to decide the game, ultimately in the Dolphins favour. The final saw an all Cronulla affair with players past and present facing off between the Beaches and HTNL2019, with HTNL2019 showing too much youth and exuberance for their experienced forebearers, celebrating with a hearty round of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline to round out the day.
The clouds parted for day two and the men’s competition and boy oh boy were we treated to an absolute pearler of a day! Even a couple of baby sting rays tried to help us with setting up in the morning, that were nicely asked to move on. As the sun rose and our first teams arrived, anticipation filled the air at Manly Cove to see some water polo action – and the locals were not disappointed. Home town favourites Bally and Going it Polo were out to keep the cup north of the bridge and even utilized their own version of the official rules at various points to ensure they would progress as far as possible. The Southern Raiders and Southern Highlands Teams caused havoc again at the table with the duel use of Southern creating confusion en masse for the Fours admin team. Southern Highlands featured our competitions youngest player, Sebastian, who at just 13 has the hall markings of a traditional big man centre forward. The Poseidons were ably led by Fours Favourite Matt Bartlett, utilizing the goal keeper in attack for much of the day to not much avail. Group A was hotly contested with Wollongong Champions Quattro Fromaggio and Wollongong Runners up the Baa Baas battling it out for supremacy. With some high profile trades and recruiting done by both teams, we saw Michael Rosenthal jump ship from the Baa Baas to join Quattro Fromaggio, a move touted as a ‘dog act’ by some analysts, while the Baa Bass roped in former Bundeena Fours Champion and 2x Olympian Johnno Cotterill to fill the void. After both teams progressed through the Manly locals respectively in their semi-finals, the final was an epic clash, with Meg Shaw, our only female competitor in the men’s competition, showing how to play like a girl with some amazing saves that kept the Baas Baas in the game. Led by their fearless captain and real estate magnate Luke, Quattro were able to wrestle control of the final and ultimately get both hands on the coveted Beach Water Polo Fours Cup for Manly 2019.
An awesome weekend all round and we can’t wait to get to the next and last event of the 18/19 Summer – Nelson Bay!
A huge thanks to all our partners including Water Polo NSW for providing the best refs in Dani, Gianni, Allie, Michaela, Thomas and Matt – you were all fantastic! Also a shout out to Delfina Sport for their ongoing support as well as Kap7 Australia, Packaworld, Sports Marketing Australia, Northern Beaches Council and last but not least, our Event Managers from Actuex Sport, who run the event in its entirety!
Until next time, follow us everywhere and stay tuned for more cool announcements!