Victorian Club to join Australian Water Polo League in 2022
In exciting news for water polo in Victoria, the sport is moving closer to re-establishing a men’s and women’s team to compete in the Australian Waterpolo League (AWL) when it begins in early 2022.
For many years, Victoria has been a traditional breeding ground for water polo players however in recent years, there has been no team from Victoria participating in the premier national competition, the Australian Waterpolo League. But that is all about to change!
A new community supported Club is being formed to provide the vehicle for players, coaches and referees to participate in the AWL. The formation of the Club will take place over the next couple of weeks and coach appointments will be made and announced soon after. Expressions of interest for players will be released soon and all players competing at a State League 1 level, who are interested in taking their game to a high-performance level are encouraged to respond. Players currently playing at a national league level will also be encouraged to consider joining the new club’s teams, particularly those formerly from Victoria. A men’s and women’s squad will be selected at the end of October 2021 with training to continue through to the first games of the competition (COVID permitting).
Over the past 12 months, the Water Polo Victoria High Performance Advisory Panel (WPV HPAP) has been developing a plan to re-launch a Victorian-based team in the Australian Waterpolo League. In recent weeks, the Panel has passed the operational responsibility to a small group of professionals to manage the formation of the Club. The group has also confirmed advice that a Provisional License for a new Club team to join the AWL in 2022 has been granted. Whilst there are several requirements that the new Club will need to meet to gain the license, a majority of these requirements, discussions and plans are well advanced. The new Club will not have any teams in the WPV State League 1 competition and instead will source players from all participating Clubs to ensure a competitive team.
The re-establishment of a national league club in Victoria will provide a much-needed pathway for young water polo players in Victoria. Chair of the WPV HPAP, Gary Barclay said that “The entry of a club in Victoria will enable Victorian athletes and coaches to participate, perform and be recognised at a National level. It will also provide a key component to the high-performance pathway in the State, something that has been missing in recent years.”
WPV Executive Officer David Whittaker said, “The Board and management of Water Polo Victoria are fully supportive of the establishment of this club. I am pleased that after alot of work over the last 18months that one of the major initiatives to re-establish pathways has been achieved. This is a great opportunity for Victorian players to progress through the existing Academy and club programs to represent the new club in the very strong national competition. It is an exciting time for water polo in Victoria and I’d like to thank the WPV HPAP and the WPV Board for their contribution and support towards the establishment of this new club.”
Over the coming weeks, players and their families together with past players will have the opportunity to provide suggestions for a name for the new club and ways in which all players and families in Victoria can support the club and the teams going forward.
A further update will be provided in coming weeks.
Gary Barclay (WPV HPAP Chairman) On behalf of proposed new Club’s Committee