Alstonville Under-14s win water polo thriller
By STEVE SPINKS
POWERED by two goals to Jack Bracey, the Alstonville Under-14 water polo team clinched the Queensland title last week in a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Brisbane Barracudas at Townsville.
Bracey, Mason Fettell and Luke Mortimer all scored to give the Alstonville side a handy 4-0 lead at three-quarter time.
The Barracudas fought back, but it was not enough.
"They scored two late goals but we were never going to be beaten," proud coach Greg Fettell said.
"The boys were sensational in defence. It was a great team effort."
Goalkeeper Hamish Millane marshalled his troops well and was responsible for the wall-like defence.
But he wasn't alone.
Centre-forward James Mulholland was strong, while Fettell scored 19 goals for the tournament as a defender.
But it was Mortimer who stole the show, being named the tournament's most valuable player.
Simon Tozer was solid in the final.
Possible State selection
Ten of the 11 squad members have made themselves available for Queensland selection and Mr Fettell believes that Alstonville will get a large representation in the team.
However, Mason Fettell won't be with them.
He played with NSW last year and has again shown that his allegiance lies with the Blues.
Fettell could well be lining up against his Alstonville teammates at the Australian titles later this summer.
Alstonville finished as the leader of the competition in Townsville after the round-robin, with their only defeat a one-goal loss to the Sunshine Coast.
They played the hosts in the semi-final and thrashed Townsville 19-2 before going on to beat the Barracudas.
"It was a real group effort as they all got a lot of time in the final," Mr Fettell said.
"But special mention must be made of the younger boys, Luke Baker and Cameron Wallace, who stepped up from a younger age group to play."
The coach, who also manages the Alstonville pool, believes Alstonville's results were a testament to Ian Ford.
"He set up water polo in Alstonville with the Friday night competition," Mr Fettell said.
"He's still involved and he took the Alstonville High School side down during the week to Newcastle to play in the CHS Championships."
Three players from the Alstonville Queensland side ? Michael Dein, Hamish Millane and Jack Bracey ? were in the Alstonville High School side.
They were eventually knocked out by Kirrawee High.
Late last week other members of the victorious Queensland team were being trialled for the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges team.
"Other areas talk about the social problems they've got with kids," Mr Fettell said.
"There is a lack of social problems here and it's because of their involvement in sport.
"Alstonville has more registered junior water polo players than some States (South Australia and Tasmania)."