Rowie Webster during a Stingers training session last year.
Rowie Webster during a Stingers training session last year. Matt King

Up-and-comers given chance to shine for water polo sides

AUSTRALIAN water polo is using the start of the new Olympic cycle to shape the future of its representative teams.

The Aussie Stingers (women) and Sharks (men) have named new-look squads ahead of the first major international tournament since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

With an eye on their Tokyo 2020 campaign, Water Polo Australia high-performance manager Tom Hill said coaches were running the rule over the sport's next generation of talent.

"This international season for our teams is the official kick-off for our Tokyo 2020 campaign, with new talent joining our more experienced players," he said.

"It has been a somewhat challenging preparation, with several players unavailable for selection due to injury or taking time off, but what that allows us to do is give the players coming through our pathways the opportunity to step into the senior teams."


epa05460491 Aaron Younger of Australia throws the ball during the men's Water Polo preliminary round group A game Brazil vs Australia of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 06 August 2016.  EPA/MARIO RUIZ
Aaron Younger playing for Australia against Brazil at the Rio Olympics. MARIO RUIZ

Dual Olympians Rowie Webster and Aaron Younger have been tasked with leading their respective sides, with the Stingers in action on Sunday.

The Stingers will face Kazakhstan in their opening world championship clash in Budapest, while the Sharks match up with home side Hungary.

"A world championship in Budapest will provide a unique experience for all players, with Margaret Island regarded as the 'home of water polo'. We're expecting big-game atmosphere and tough competition," Hill said.

New women's head coach Sakis Kechagias, who took charge in April, will lead the Stingers campaign.