AUSTRALIA’S men’s water polo team continued a patchy start to the Olympics with a hard-fought draw against Hungary.
After losing to hosts Brazil 8-7 in the first game, the Sharks fought desperately in the last second to save the match against the hyper-competitive Magyars.
John Coterill skimmed the ball under Hungarian goalkeeper Attila Decker with just 26 seconds left on the clock to tie the match 9-9 before the match ended with an old-fashioned brawl.
The Hungarians have won a remarkable nine Olympic gold medals in water polo, giving them an unparalleled historical dominance in the game, despite a relatively low current world ranking.
Richie Campbell, who scored four goals for Australia, saw the positive side of drawing level with a team he hailed as “still one of the best… in the world”.
Campbell opened the scoring before the Hungarians hit back.
Balazs Harai’s trademark backhand sling then gave his side the lead 2-1.
From there it was an intense arm-wrestle, with the sides trading goals.
Hungary took a 9-8 lead with two minutes remaining, but Cotterill’s clever goal put the teams on par before the Aussies resolutely defended in the final seconds to deny not one but two Hungarian thrusts forward.