NEWCASTLE’S Richie Campbell will soldier on despite the inconvenience of a scratched retina as Australia strive to salvage their London Olympic water polo campaign against Croatia on Saturday (8.20pm AEST).
Campbell, the 24-year-old centre back from Merewether, was sporting two bloodshot and black eyes after being whacked in the face in Australia’s round-two win against Kazakhstan.
His left eyeball bore the brunt of the damage, suffering a cut, but he declared himself fit and took his place in Australia’s next game, a 13-9 loss to Spain on Thursday, in which he played 19.47 minutes.
‘‘I got a finger poke in the last game, like right at the end,’’ he said. ‘‘I got out and I thought I was blind, really ... he followed through with the shot and the finger got me straight in the eye. He smacked me around a little bit.’’
Campbell said the sight in his left eye was still "a little bit’’ blurry during the loss to Spain, in which he was well contained and produced only one unsuccessful attempt on goal.
Asked if he had considered wearing goggles as protection, Campbell said: ‘‘I think that would just make it more painful.’’
After just a lone win from their first three games, Australia need at least one more victory from their next two fixtures, against Croatia and Greece, to qualify for the quarter-finals.
If results in other games go against them, they may need to win both.
Campbell felt Australia were not that far off the pace.
Italy and Spain are both rated as medal contenders and the Sharks paid dearly for conceding an early lead in both games and having to play catch-up water polo.
‘‘We matched [Spain] pretty much goal for goal,’’ he said.
‘‘It was just that third quarter where we slipped and they got four goals in a row, and from there it was hard.
‘‘It’s disappointing, but we’ve still got two group games and we’re staying positive.
‘‘It depends on other results, but we need to win at least one other game. Two will get us in.
‘‘Winning two, it’s tough but it’s definitely achievable.’’
Australia appeared frustrated with the refereeing on Thursday but Campbell said that was no excuse.
"It was a very physical game but you can’t blame the referees in the end,’’ he said.