Biggest test yet for Joe
New Zealand junior waterpolo rep Joe Bensley will face the biggest challenge of his sporting career at the junior world champs in Croatia in August.
The Mt Roskill resident, known for his goalscoring ability, says top European sides like Hungary and Italy will be tough to beat.
“Their waterpolo is like our rugby. They get to train every day like the All Blacks and some of these guys would be on the same money as Dan Carter.”
The Kiwi team also face the United States and a yet-to-be-announced team from Asia during pool play.
Strength and fitness are equally important factors in the pool, with Bensley, 18, training up to 12 times a week in the pool and gym.
“It’s pretty much one of the most physical sports there is.”
And with that comes injuries such as cracked ribs, dislocated joints and broken fingers.
But Bensley is used to that after nine years of involvement in age group teams.
He says the scores in waterpolo can be relatively low or blowout to double figures depending on the standard of play.
“It’s faster and more physical when you’re playing with people who are more skilled.”
Bensley and his teammates will also be looking to impress professional and college scouts at the tournament.
New Zealand coach Kurt Goldsworthy says Bensley is one of the side’s key members.
“He’s got the potential. If he puts his mind to it he can turn a game on its head,” he says.
Goldsworthy is confident his team can win at least one game, which would see them qualify for the second round.
And they will face a weaker side in the second round if they win more than one match so “we need to be as good as we can be”.
The team play in warm-up tournaments in Australia and Hungary before heading to Croatia.
If you can help raise the $10,000 needed to fund the trip email joe_the_ email@example.com.
Making a splash: Joe Bensley will take on the best in the world at the junior world waterpolo champs in Croatia in August.