Rio Olympics: Locals Aaron Younger and Joel Swift score vital goals as Australia snatches first water polo win against Japan

Japan face off against Australia during the men's water polo at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 10, 2016. Australia beat Japan 8-6. Picture: Kyodo News via Getty Images.
Japan face off against Australia during the men's water polo at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 10, 2016. Australia beat Japan 8-6. Picture: Kyodo News via Getty Images.

LOCAL water polo players Aaron Younger (Palmyra) and Joel Swift (East Fremantle) both scored in Australia’s first win of the Olympics last night, a thrilling 8-6 win over Japan.

Younger and Swift both scored vital goals leading into halftime, with the score at 3-3.

The game continued as a ferocious and evenly contested tussle deep into the final quarter.

With Australia leading 7-5 and less than four minutes on the clock Japan pushed forward, drawing a strong save from Aussie goal keeper Joe Dennerley.

Australian coach Elvis Fatovic called a time out – the fourth of the game for Australia and the eighth in total – to exhort a final rally by his players.

The break seemed to disrupt Japan’s momentum, and Joe Kayes took full advantage, soaring above two Japanese defenders and drilling a goal past the keeper – his fourth for the game from seven attempts.

That made it 8-5 with 2.31 minutes on the clock.

Japan charged forward but were again denied by Dennerley, they kept coming – and with 1.26 minutes remaining forced a lightning quick save from Dennerley.

Undeterred, Japan continued to surge – and with barely a minute remaining Mitsuaki Shiga drilled a goal into the top right corner to make the score 8-6.

With just 31 seconds to go Japan had the ball locked in their forward area but an ambitious lob missed the target and Australia held on for a much needed victory.