THE last time Australia fielded a water polo team at the Maccabiah Games was in 1993, but with a new wave of Jewish talent rising to the surface in the sport, the dream of forming a new squad has officially begun, potentially in time for the next games in July 2022.
Sydney University Water Polo Club (SUWPC) co-president Antony Green was a member of that 1993 team, and also the 1989 team that won a Maccabiah Games bronze medal, as was current Maccabi Australia president Jeff Sher.
Green is spearheading the campaign to build a new water polo men’s squad, and possibly a women’s squad too.
“Back in the 80s we had a really good Australian Jewish water polo team, with guys that played in very high level competitions, plus Russell Basser who was an Olympian,” Green said.
“Now there is a talented group of Jewish players in the junior ranks in Australia, but it will take an effort to bring a team together, so we’re calling on any interested players to get in touch.”
Green’s daughter Sienna is in the Australian women’s U20s squad, and his son Zac is a member of the Australian men’s U18 squad and of SUWPC’s reigning Sydney Metro championship-winning squad.
Michael Rosenthal, 30, and Harry Molnar, 20, also play for SUWPC – the latter also for the Australia Born in 2000 squad – and 20-year-old UNSW Wests Magpies player Matthew Sharp is a former Australian junior team member.
All currently play in the Australian Water Polo League, and Sharp and Rosenthal played in the Sydney Metro grand final in December, which SUWPC won 10-7.
Sharp, who was a junior member of the American water polo squad at the 2017 Maccabiah Games due to having a relative with US citizenship, told The AJN he would love to represent Australia if a squad could be built.
“I was in US colours then (in 2017), but I would much prefer to be in the green and gold,” Sharp said.
“The whole Maccabiah experience is so much fun, the atmosphere is amazing, which is why I want to do it all again.”
Jewish water polo players who would like to find out more should email firstname.lastname@example.org.