The third round of the inaugural Australian Underwater Rugby League was hosted by the UNSW Sydney Whales at Max Parker Leisure and Aquatic Centre in Revesby on 22-23 September 2018. This round marked the second Steinfeld Cup, and the first time a tournament was held in Revesby, which more closely resembled European-style underwater rugby pools, including the venue of the Champions Cup in Berlin that the Sydney Whales will be competing at in November.
In another first, the round was split up into three divisions:
Elite Division (clubs that participated in Round 1);
Development Division (AUWRL first time entrants and B teams); and
The Elite Division fielded six teams: UNSW Sydney Whales A, Victoria Seadragons, Canberra Underdogs, Tasmania Convicts, Melbourne Underwater Rugby Inc and Sydney Whales Old Stars.
The UNSW Whales A team, consisting of the team that will represent Australia at Champions Cup, dominated the Elite Division, with convincing wins against the rest of the division and only conceding one goal during the whole weekend - a good sign of their competitiveness on the world stage.
The battle for the minor placings was separated by one point each from second to fifth, and the podium was not decided until the final game of the division between the Whales Old Stars and Canberra Underdogs. A win for the Old Stars would have catapulted them up into Silver, whilst a win for the Underdogs would have seen them achieve Bronze for the second consecutive Steinfeld Cup. Melbourne Underwater Rugby, competing in just their second tournament since founding, was also in the mix having just defeated the Tasmania Convicts, cheering for an Underdogs win to help them secure Silver. In the end, the Underdogs held off a fast finishing Old Stars team with a slim 1 goal lead, scored by national team veteran Louis Hoskinson in the dying minutes of the game.
The Development Division saw the 2018 national runners-up, Unidive Gauls (Brisbane) field two equally matched teams, the Mighty Gauls and the Hulky Gauls, that naturally dominated the division, against the tenacious Adelaide White Pointers, and developing teams from Whales B and Whales C.
The two Gauls teams ran away with wins in every single game, until they played each other in what was ultimately the gold medal decider. The teams traded goals until the second half when the Hulky Gauls built up a three point lead, which, in the end, propelled them to first in the division.
The battle for bronze was a close contest that came down to goal difference, with the Adelaide White Pointers edging Sydney Whales B by just one goal (+7 vs +6). The two teams were evenly matched, tying 4-4 in their game together. It was an emphatic 16-1 victory against Whales C that gave the White Pointers the upper hand in securing Bronze on goal difference - their first ever medal finish at a tournament.
The Ladies’ Division was also a closely-fought contest, with the Victoria-Tasmania Ronin, Brisbane Gaulitas (with two guest players from Canberra), the Sydney Platypuses and the Adelaide Dolphins battling it out for Australian women’s underwater rugby glory.
The Victoria Dragonettes and the Tasmania Convicts, who placed first and second at the National Championships in Adelaide in May, combined to become a formidable force against the rest of the competition. They won all three of their games, only conceding one goal, to deservedly win the gold medal for their division.
Silver and Bronze went down to goal difference again, mirroring the closeness of the Development Division, with the Brisbane Gaulitas edging the Sydney Platypuses by two goals (+2 vs +0), with the Gaulitas’ solid defence proving to be the deciding factor in their silver placing (4 goals conceded vs 7 goals conceded).