HUNTER Hurricanes men’s coach Dan Marsden fears for the future of the club due to a lack of financial support amid a review of National Water Polo League licence regulations.
Water Polo Australia this week sent a discussion paper to all NWPL clubs outlining potential criteria for existing and potential teams to satisfy before gaining a licence for the premier competition.
The licences will keep 12 teams in place in both men’s and women’s competitions for the years leading up to each Olympic Games.
Among the potential criteria, clubs will submit budget and annual financial results to the NWPL and demonstrate with a business plan that they are financially and structurally viable.
Marsden said the Hurricanes have long struggled to gain financial backing and more than three-quarters of the $80,000 needed annually to field men’s and women’s teams in the NWPL came from the players and their families.
He said the review of licences and the submission process, combined with their financial battles, meant ‘‘there is no guarantee we will have national league sides in the future’’.
‘‘I’m confident we can put forward a submission which is the equal of just about every other team who should qualify for a licence,’’ Marsden said.
‘‘But our biggest issue is meeting the financial requirements.
‘‘Because we don’t have any major backing apart from our sponsors, we are really behind the eight-ball.
‘‘Other clubs have university and other backing, which we just don’t have, for whatever reason.
‘‘It’s a real shame because this is one of the true national league teams in the Hunter and we struggle every year to come up with the money.’’
A major focus of the discussion paper is junior development, an area the Hurricanes have excelled in over recent years with the likes of Nathan Power, Gordon Marshall, Matt Skinner and Georgia McConville making youth or senior national teams for world titles.
Richie Campbell, the national men’s team vice-captain and NWPL finals MVP for University of NSW Wests, is also a Newcastle product.
Despite the success, Hunter have struggled to hang on to their best young talent, who are lured away by tertiary scholarships from university-backed clubs.
‘‘Given the results we get with our juniors, if we’d be able to keep them with that financial backing, our national league sides would be dominant forces,’’ Marsden said.
Another stumbling block is the length of the Hurricanes’ home pool at Lambton.
The pool is 33metres long but with 2.2metres needed at each end behind the goals, the playing area is shorter than the proposed 30metres requirement for men’s games.
Before the criteria is set in stone, meetings with current NWPL clubs will occur between May 26 and June 8. All current NWPL clubs will also meet in Sydney on June 15.