Antwerp water poloAustralian water polo teams dominated the World Outgames in Antwerp over the weekend, with Melbourne Surge taking out the gold medal in a grand final against rivals the Sydney Stingers.

Surge defeated the Stingers 9–5, their second victory in Antwerp over the Sydney team after a 6–2 victory earlier in the round robin tournament.

The Melbourne team pulled ahead early with the scoreboard reading 3–0 at quarter time, and narrowly maintained their lead throughout the game. All players fought hard with plenty of steals by both teams, and Surge and the Stingers praised excellent defensive displays by the goalies on both sides.

Surge’s Antwerp team captain Rhys McKinnon said the team performed outstandingly well in the tournament.

“I am extremely proud that our team has shown, once again, that we are amongst the world’s best LGBTIQ sporting clubs. We approached Antwerp Outgames with not only a mission to win, but also have fun and enjoy the opportunities a large event like the Outgames brings,” he said.

McKinnon said the structure of the tournament was intense and physically challenging for the team, with Surge playing three matches in a day to win the gold medal.

“The effort and dedication shown by the team, even when facing that physical strain and willing their bodies to increase their work effort, was amazing,” said McKinnon.

Surge wiped the floor with a slew of international teams throughout the round robin, winning five straight matches against teams from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Toronto, conceding only 13 goals by the close of the tournament.

Despite their wins McKinnon said the team was still wary going in to the final, with a history of tough competition between Surge and the Stingers in their bi-annual “Grudge Match”.

“Sydney are always a tough opponent, as we know from our exciting Grudge matches when at home in Australia. Thankfully, our team maintained their cool and executed the game plan well. Every team member lifted their performance for the game that mattered most,” he said.

The World Outgames took place in Antwerp from July 31–August 11, seeing a huge contingent of Australian athletes head to Belgium to compete. Australian teams achieved widespread success at this year’s games, winning gold across multiple events including swimming, rowing and track and field.

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