Boost for regional water polo talent

Reuben Carder and Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian

The top official for water polo talent development for all of northern WA says junior Mid West players can be trained to go far in the game.

Peter Hughes, a UWA coach who is in charge of the Water Polo WA Northern Pathways program that stretches from north of the Swan River to the northern tip of the State, said the local juniors were impressive and should be given the chance to dream big.

“There’s some talent, it’s a bit raw, but they’re good kids,” Mr Hughes said.

“We have national and international competitions that we go to, if a kid from Geraldton can make it into those, that’d be fantastic.

“Why can’t a kid have the dream of going to the Olympics like a city kid?”

He said the pathway development was a “natural progression of our area of responsibility” for Water Polo WA and the aim was to provide some of the training opportunities city-based players had available, and push the local players as far as possible.

While players might still have to leave the Mid West to progress, ultimately they could come back and share their knowledge through avenues like coaching, he said.

The Geraldton Water Polo Association’s Julia Gourley has previously said the local community expect the pathways program to make it easier to access competitions at national level. Gourley said the latest round’s action in the pool was positive, with people staying back to watch other games and keeping the pool environment busy.

“It was another good weekend, and everybody seems to be really enjoying being back,” she said.

Among the development squad working out in the pool was Leo Prout, one of a family of water polo players. His parents Daniel and Michelle Prout have both played at Country Week while his sister, Evie, played at nationals last year.

Rats had wins against Demons in both the boys’ and girls’ junior divisions on Saturday. Rats won 11-3 in the girls’ game to stay on top of the ladder. They won 9-3 in the boys’ match but could not overhaul B52’s on the table.

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