2022 Australian Water Polo League Champions, UNSW Wests' Magpies (Credit: Emma Cuell Photography)

UNSW Wests have successfully defended their Australian Water Polo League title after two years of missed competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the league resuming post-consecutive cancellations, the Magpies entered the weekend’s finals series as minor premiers progressing to Sunday’s Grand Final where they overcame Drummoyne 9-7, in a replay of the 2019 decider. 

Olympian Tim Putt was one of five current UNSW students in the winning team joining Australian teammates John Hedges and Charlie Negus, as well as Matthew Murphy and Matthew Byrnes.

Owning a smile that no one could take away from him, Putt struggled to find the words to match his elation speaking with Water Polo Australia post-match at the Pymble Ladies College aquatic centre. 

“Absolutely unreal, can’t put it into words.” the 23-year-old Ben Lexcen Scholar said. “Testament to Drummoyne, it was a hard-fought battle all the way through, but we ground it out and got the win. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Club leader and Olympian Nathan Power was one of three alumni in the Magpies side that scored four final quarter goals to two in claiming their fifth title in seven seasons since 2014.

Angus Lambie and Mike de Gail were the other two, with recent graduate Jean-Luc Poidevin and former Ben Lexcen Scholar Corrie Eames part of the squad. For the man affectionately known as "Nitties", Andrew Yanitsas, the win notched his fifth national title as head coach.

The Magpies’ opposition also featured a UNSW elite athlete student with Exercise Physiology student Jordan Lancaster part of the Drummoyne line-up.

Eames, Hedges, Negus, Power, Putt and Rhys Holden all added significant international experience for the Magpies', all of whom were part of the Australian men's most recent success winning silver at the Intercontinental Cup.

Newcastle’s Nathan Power having played 161 matches on the world stage. Sunday's win followed a 14-4 victory over Sydney University in the Men’s Sydney Super League final, during late February.

The club also won second and fourth grade in the metropolitan league. UNSW Wests’ female Killer Whales unfortunately missed finals weekend.

Power, Negus and Kiara Holden were each selected in the respective Australian Water Polo League All Star teams at the conclusion of Sunday’s finals.  

But the weekend’s success did not stop at Pymble Ladies College for the UNSW Wests’ club.

At the NSW State Junior Championships in Sydney, the club’s Under 18 girls took home silver, and Under 18 boys, a bronze.

Nikki Collins, Lexi Graham, Magali Ogg were all chosen in the State Championships’ female team of the tournament following its completion at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

Harper Stewart and Thomas Rathbone made the male team of the tournament.

For more information about the highly successful UNSW Wests’ water polo club, please visit unswwests.com