Blue Devils are Water Polo National Club Champions

It is a well-deserved victory both sweet and a long time in the making.

The Waitakere Blue Devils are champions after taking out arch rivals North Harbour Wizard Turtles 9-7 in the national league water polo championships on May 3.

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The club formed in 1984 and this is the first time it has won.

"To finally get a win in the national league is huge," captain Scott Griffiths says. "It's probably one of the proudest moments of my life."'

The West Aucklanders went into the semifinals ranked fourth and up against top-ranked Hutt Heat Red.

Griffiths, 26, says it was a tough game that they only won 7-6 with a goal in the last 30 seconds.

The Blue Devils then went to the final up against the Wizard Turtles, a team that had beaten them by 12 points the week before.

"North Harbour have won the trophy heaps of times. They know how to beat us, and so for us to get the win versus them was that much sweeter," Griffiths says.

"It's always good when you beat North Harbour being from West Auckland, it's a great feeling. And for us to do it in the final - it was a special moment."

The championships were played at West Wave Pool and Leisure Centre in Henderson, and Griffiths says it was good to play in front of a crowd of home-team supporters.

The win was a team effort, but Griffiths is full of praise for goalie Sid Dymond who in his first season in the position "played amazingly".

Another Waitakere player who deserves special mention is Ricki Moniz. He is the first Blue Devils club member to be awarded the league's most valuable player.

For Blue Devils club captain and player Michael Brooks, 29, the victory "means a hell of a lot".

"I started playing for the club when I was 10. We had a  [mixed] under-14 team and we lost games by 30 goals," he says.

For the past three seasons the club has partnered with NZ Water Polo to import Hungary coach Attila Biro.

Biro has coached the Blue Devils men's team for the past two seasons.

Brooks says the Biro has made "a big difference" in terms of tactics, preparation and player conditioning.


This story originally appeared on Stuff.