Aussie water polo women out to heal wounds
While still shaken by a tragic incident at the world titles, captain Rowie Webster is confident the Australian women's water polo team can create headlines for the all the right reasons in an upcoming series against arch-rivals the United States.
In a huge coup, Water Polo Australia announced on Thursday that Webster's Aussie Stingers and national men's outfit the Sharks would receive a dream Tokyo Olympic preparation by taking on the USA in their respective three-Test series in Brisbane in January.
Webster hoped it would help wash away memories of their world titles campaign in South Korea where the Stingers' gutsy bronze medal finish was marred by tragedy.
While celebrating with the entire Stingers squad, Webster was standing on a second storey structure of a Gwangju nightclub when it collapsed, killing two people.
All Stingers players emerged unscathed but Webster admitted the mental scars remained.
"There was a lot of coverage of that (world titles), unfortunately for all the wrong reasons," Webster told AAP.
"But we have had great support from the Australian Sports Commission and everyone has reached out and asked if we are OK.
"We know the implications of that incident may last a while. We are weathering the storm and taking it day by day."
Webster admitted the incident had taken the gloss from their podium finish.
"We were having a nice night. There were about eight to 10 other countries there, all celebrating the sport we love," she said.
"I would be wrong if I said it took a little bit away from the medal but you realise there is so much more to life than just sport.
"Nothing will take away how proud we were of winning that medal but it definitely put it in perspective."
However, Webster hoped their upcoming series against world No.1 US may yet help heal old wounds.
Webster backed Australia to earn some much needed joy against the Americans who are on a 58-game unbeaten run.
The men's and women's Test series which will be held on January 14, 16, and 18.
"No team is unbeatable. There comes a time when they will get knocked off their throne," Webster said of the US who have won the last two Olympic titles.
"And wouldn't it be special if the Aussie Stingers could knock them off?"
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