We caught up with Mariner’s captain Joel Swift about last Friday’s game details and teams to look out for in the 2020 season.
What was it like playing against rivals, the UWA Torpedoes, last week?
I think it’s always interesting playing them. They always rise to the occasion, and regardless of where the teams end up on the ladder it’s always a competitive match. Obviously, their coach has coached a lot of our Fremantle players when they were juniors so know a lot of tendencies and game plans. They are a younger team now but have some import players that are capable. It was a challenging game; I would have imagined it being a lot easier. I was a little shocked in the first quarter but remained level-headed, so I was ready to go. I think they will catch a few teams by surprise this season I think.
What was that half-time chat like?
Keep your head. and I think we realised that we hadn’t played any competitive games since April last year to be perfectly honest. Just keep doing what you’re doing. We were getting nice shots, just not converting or we were dropping a pass, or making a crunch mistake. Just keep pushing on with the game plan, which became evident in the 3rd and 4th quarter when things started turning our way.
What was it like having such a great crowd watching that game?
It’s always good getting people down here, I always really enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere. Especially for the first game of the season. We have a lot of new sponsors so it’s new people to water polo. They’re usually surprised by the aggressiveness or the sport in general, it’s always a great vibe. I always enjoy the first game where a lot of the crowd is learning the game and it’s a different atmosphere.
Who were some strong player’s in Friday’s game?
Damien Williams, he came in at half-time for us, our goalkeeper. That certainly changed the momentum, just a different look in the goals. Only conceded one goal which was huge for us turning it around. Pete Tomasevic who played a strong defensive role in centre back, controlled the game and settled the team down a lot.
What do we have to look forward to in the 2020 Season?
I think it’s going to be a competitive season. Most people believe that the Wests (UNSW Wests Magpies) and Drummoyne (Drummoyne Devils) are going to be the teams to beat. I also think that Sydney Uni (Lions) and ourselves are going to be looking for that top spot. There’s a lot of experience in our team and can mix it with anyone in the top as we’ve proved in the past. I think it’s going to be an exciting season, a very close season. There’s going to be a lot of upsets to be honest. The young teams are learning and always eager to win. It’s going to be a close competition but being the start of the season there’s not really any favourite at the moment.
Are you looking forward to the road trip today?
I am! We’re getting over to Brisbane and Newcastle, playing those teams. They’re young, developing teams which is challenging. Newcastle is unfamiliar, they’ve had a lot of changeover, a few of the guys have transferred to Balmain, so I’m not too sure what to expect there. Brisbane will be interesting, as I know there’s a few injuries over there, I’m not sure how they will look but I believe they’ll be fit. We’re in for a battle.