NORTHERN Beaches Marlins coach Marijn Kerkhoven believes the Far North’s water polo league is going from strength to strength following their grand finals.
In the city’s first locally grown competition, branded the Cairns Water Polo League, the Marlins claimed both the men’s and ladies’ deciders in exciting grand finals held at Trinity Anglican School Pool.
The deciders came after 10 rounds of competition, with five men’s teams and three women’s sides competing for pool supremacy.
Kerkhoven, who captain-coached the Marlins, played the game back in his native Netherlands and has seen the growth of water polo in Cairns over the past year, since the sport was reformed in the Far North.
“The quality is going up since we travelled to Townsville and played in the Queensland Country Championships at the start of this year,” Kerkhoven said.
“We hardly knew each other back then but we now have some very strong players and have recruited some nice players too.
“The training has been helpful and we will be ready for the Queensland Country Championships next year as well as playing in our local competition.”
In the ladies’ decider, the Marlins wrapped up their campaign with a solid win as Courtney van Putten showed great leadership in her dual captain and coach role for the Marlins outfit.
“We have got a fair few players who have played previously but our main focus was to bring up numbers on the girls’ side,” van Putten said.
“It is about getting more people playing the game.”
In the men’s, the Marlins and Stingrays had been level pegging during the regular season with a win each in the two previous encounters.
The Marlins unit took to the pool on Saturday and capitalised on some early mistakes in front of goal and in defence by the Stingrays to have a season-best performance.
Marlin Josh McDonald, a former Queensland junior representative, played an important role, as did Kerkhoven.
Ladies | Northern Beaches Marlins 9 d Cairns Combined 5
Men | Northern Beaches Marlins 11 d South Cairns 3