The Hurricanes training last month. Picture Simone De Peak IT will be only the halfway mark of the National Water Polo League season, but the Hunter Hurricanes men’s side are approaching their away weekend double-header against Victoria as do or die for their finals chances.
Hunter have only two wins from nine games and travel to Wodonga, on the NSW-Victoria border, to take on the Seals today and tomorrow.
Hurricanes player-coach Dan Marsden said losses in the matches, held in conjunction with national under-14 championships, will all but end his team’s hopes of making the top-six finals after the 22-round competition.
‘‘This is a must-win weekend away for the men’s team,’’ Marsden said.
‘‘Victoria are a team who will be pushing for the finals and we just have to win.
‘‘There’s no excuses. If we don’t win it’s pretty much season over unless there’s some sort of miracle. The boys are revved up for it.’’
Hurting the Hurricanes’ hopes is an elbow injury to leading goal-scorer Matt Skinner, who missed only one match with the problem then backed up for the losing double-header last weekend against Adelaide.
‘‘Matt’s still recovering and it will take him a few weeks to get over the injury completely,’’ Marsden said.
‘‘But he’ll be playing and even if he’s not at full strength, he’s a huge asset to our team.’’
National team player Lachie Edwards and older brother Blake Edwards will spearhead the Seals’ line-up.
The Hunter women’s side have five wins from nine games and face a Victorian side led by world-class goal-scoring and national team star Rowie Webster.
Hunter assistant coach Brett Arnold said his side would go in as underdogs but will be full strength and confident for the road trip.
The Hurricanes, led by Italian goalkeeper Elena Gigli, have already won their most games ever for a NWPL season and are on track to be the first Hunter side to make a finals series.