Newcastle lad in Australian water polo team

NATIONAL HONOUR: Hunter Hurricane Nathan Power has been selected for the world championships in Barcelona. Picture: Simone de PeakNEW Lambton rookie Nathan Power has joined an established Novocastrian, Richie Campbell, in the Australian water polo team for the world championships in Barcelona.

But there was no place for Lake Macquarie product Daniel Lawrence, who was one of the odd men out when head coach Elvis Fatovic reduced his preliminary squad of 15 to the final 13-man list yesterday.

The Australians have spent the past month in Europe preparing for the world titles, winning the five-nation Danube Cup two weeks ago and following that with a one-off victory against Germany.

In that time, Power made his international debut and showed enough potential in five games to clinch selection for the world titles.

Campbell, a two-time Olympian and the most experienced Australian player with 161 games to his name, was chosen as vice-captain to Queensland’s Rhys Howden.

Fatovic said competition for places rather than poor form counted against Lawrence, who grew up in Lake Macquarie before his family moved to Perth eight years ago.

“After assessing all the players over the past three weeks the unlucky one to miss out on final selection is Daniel Lawrence,” Fatovic said.

“Daniel has performed well over this period but so have all the other players, which is encouraging for the World Championships.”

Australia’s squad includes eight survivors from the London Olympics, at which the Sharks finished seventh.

Australia open their world championships campaign against heavyweights Serbia on Monday, July 22.

They will prepare for the tournament in Spain with warm-up games against Italy and Spain this weekend.

Fatovic, who replaced John Fox after last year’s Olympics, was looking forward to his first major assignment.

“This tour has been very good to date, with solid training and games against Germany and Montenegro following our time in Slovakia and Croatia,” Fatovic said.

“We now look forward to our final lead-up tournament in Portugalete and testing the improvement of the team against Italy and Spain.”

Power, 20, caught the attention of Fatovic playing for the Hunter Hurricanes during the recent national league season, after which he and teammate Gordon Marshall were selected in an 18-man national training squad.

Fatovic told the Newcastle Herald in May that Marshall and Power were “part of the future” but could force their way into world titles reckoning if they performed in the training camp.

“It’s up to them, and they need to train hard, but they have a future,” he said. “I really believe in them.”

Power’s selection will be slightly bittersweet for his Hurricanes teammates and the club’s supporters as he is expected to join a Sydney outfit next season, so that he can train regularly at the NSW Institute of Sport.

Marshall, an engineering student, will also be leaving the Hurricanes after accepting a four-year scholarship with University of California, in Los Angeles.