The Adelaide White Pointers hosted their first UWRA Australian National Championships in 2018 at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. All UWRA clubs competed in the mixed division, and for the first time at a Nationals, a full women's division was also played, with teams from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart. A total of fifteen teams from seven clubs competed in the tournament, a record number for Nationals, and several guest players from New Zealand joined the Canberra, Perth and Brisbane teams.
The UNSW Whales from Sydney backed up their AUWRL Round 1 win with a close 5-4 victory over the UniDive Gauls from Brisbane in the mixed division, and will represent Australia at Champions Cup. The Whales caught the Gauls off guard in the first 30 seconds of the game with an early goal by the top goal scorer of the tournament, Manakon Eammano, but the momentum shifted to the Brisbane side after a penalty shot was converted by national women's coach Freydick Corrales Cruz. The Whales capitalised on a two-minute time penalty imposed on the Gauls for rough play, and both sides traded goals up until the closing stages of the match. In the end, the Whales' defence was too strong to allow a final equaliser from the Gauls in the final two minutes, and they prevailed to win the game and the Nationals mixed title for 2018.
Meanwhile, the Dragonettes (Victoria Seadragons) won the inaugural UWRA Women's Australian National Championships title, after defeating the Tasmania Convicts with a convincing 2-0 margin in the decider. In a clean game, experienced Seadragons players Sonja Pennanen and Nathalie Hartman scored two goals in the first half to give the Dragonettes an early lead, which they maintained throughout the game to fend off the Convict's full strength women's team (the Convicts ladies did not play in the mixed division). Neither team managed to gain an advantage from the few free throws awarded in the second half, with the Victorian team eventually winning the first women's Nationals title.
Both the UNSW Whales and the Victoria Seadragons will now head to Berlin in November to compete in the annual Champions Cup, where the national men's and women's clubs champions from around the world play for the prestigious Champions Cup trophy. The Whales have enjoyed success at Champions Cup in 2016 where they placed ninth out of fourteen clubs in the men's division. This year, they are up against the defending champions RiUSuk (Finland) as well as new entrants Akkaren (Norway) and our regional rival FATUWR (Singapore). The Dragonettes will also head to Berlin to contest the women's division of Champions Cup against well-renowned women's teams such as Akkaren and the Black Mermaids (Sweden), and build upon the Perth Raiders' results as the first Australian club to compete in the women's division of Champions Cup last year.
Sydney UNSW Whales A
Brisbane UniDive Gauls A
Victoria Seadragons A
Adelaide White Pointers
Victoria Seadragons B
Sydney UNSW Whales B
Brisbane UniDive Gauls B
Dragonettes (Victoria Seadragons)
Brisbane UniDive Gauls
Platypuses (UNSW Whales)
Breathtaking Adelaide Dolphins (Adelaide White Pointers)