Geraldton men retained their title and Geraldton women regained theirs at the Bendigo Bank State Country Water Polo Championships at the South Wests Sports Centre during the weekend.
Both teams romped home in the grand finals after mixed success during the round-robin phase with the men topping their pool and the women coming from second spot.
The men won 17-9 after beating Bunbury 5-4 on Saturday, while the women triumphed 18-8 — a far different scoreline from the previous day’s 6-5 losstoBunbury in the round robin.
Zacc Cross (22) was named the grand-final most valuable player for his whirlwind style of play and was ably backed by younger brother Joel Cross, star goalkeeper Mick Mulligan and the experienced Brendan Hagen.
Zacc Cross, Mulligan and veteran Mick Rock were named to the all-star team.
The quarter scores read 3-3, 6-5 and 12-8 with Geraldton pulling away with superior fitness and speed around the pool.
Geraldton senior women’s international Eliesha Browne stepped up in the grand final and won the trophy for best in pool, creating havoc with her steals and pinpoint passing.
Veteran Juli Coffin was unstoppable in the final with four goals, the same number scored by captain Emma Hancox.
The teams were locked at 3-3 by the quarter break, 8-6 at halftime and 13-7 after three periods.
Both Bunbury teams suffered from fatigue in the finals, which were played to full international timelines, effectively twice the length of the round matches.
After the round robin, Geraldton men and Bunbury women were unbeaten and the Bunburymen finished equal on points with Karratha, but advanced to the final by defeating the northerners 8-2 on Friday night.
Geraldton is heavily represented in State squads for the Easter Australian Country Championships in Karratha.
Men: Tournament MVP, Tiago Magalhaes (Busselton); grand-final MVP, Zac Cross (Geraldton); highest goal-scorer, Justin Angove (Karratha); all-star team, Mick Mulligan, Mick Rock, Zac Cross (Geraldton), Tiago Magalhaes (Busselton), Brad Horsman (Port Hedland), Rhys Knight (Karratha). Jarrod English (Bunbury).
Women: Tournament MVP, Kylie English (Bunbury); grand-final MVP, Eliesha Browne (Geraldton); highest goal-scorer, Alice Rotheram (Bunbury); all-star team, Timara Simpson (Port Hedland), Kylie English, Chelsea Barrett (Bunbury), Deb Mercer (Peel), Anoushka Angove (Karratha), Eliesha Browne (Geraldton), Emma Morelli (Busselton).
Men: First team: Richard Gregory, Nigel Kroonstuiver, Rhys Knight, Justin Angove(Karratha); Gerry Morelli (Busselton); Zacc Cross, Noel Morrison, Michael Rock, Corey Smith (Geraldton); Lee Stiles, Jarrod English (Bunbury); Peter Petrov, Tim Bailey (Peel). Coach: David O’Connor (Bunbury). Manager: Craig Burrows (Bunbury). Second team: Jack Deschamp, Alix English (Bunbury); Louis Bray, Tiago Magelhaes (Busselton); Kal Smith, Kal Ridge, Tyson McEwan, Joel Cross, Liam Follington (Geraldton); Brad Pawlenko, Brad Horsman, Nathan Groch (Port Hedland); Mason Watts (Karratha). Coach: Peter Petrov (Peel). Manager: Craig Burrows (Bunbury).
Women’s squad:AnouskaAngove, Kate Kalajzich, Alexandra Dobbin, Sandra Morris, Paulette Sullivan(Karratha);ChelseyBarrett, EboneyFranklyn, Kylie English, Nicole Hearn, Louise Johnson, TashO’Neill, Alice Rotheram, Chelsea Rotheram (Bunbury); Gabby Abrams, Coraleigh Abrams, Abbey Benham, Eliesha Browne, JuliCoffin, Sophie Coffin, Emma Hancox, CobyRowcroft, TiahniRowcroft, Zoe Rowcroft, Alisha Gilbert, Mia Gleghorn (Geraldton); Elizabeth Macey (Peel); Kimberley Cooper, Timara Simpson (Port Hedland). Coaches: Gerry Morelli (Busselton), Gary Vincent (Karratha). Manager: Caroline Rowcroft (Geraldton).