Roach applies enforcer legacy in the pool

HIS father Steve was one of New South Wales's toughest State of Origin players, but Australian water polo star Aidan Roach said it was a stirring speech from a former cricketer that rejuvenated his career.

Steve Waugh was brought in as the Sharks' motivator for last year's London Olympics, and Roach said he was inspired by the former Test captain.

The 22-year-old is now an integral part of a Sharks outfit that will compete at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, with Australia set to kick off its campaign on Monday against powerhouse Serbia.

"Waugh was unbelievable, and I stuck by what he told us," Roach said. "He told us how to manage our ups and downs as sportsmen."

Roach's famous father has never been short on advice either, but it has not always been regarding niggle and aggression, which he was known for on the rugby league field.

Aidan, a talented rugby player while attending Riverview College in Sydney, revealed his larrikin father also had a soft side.

"Dad just loves coming and watching me play. Any problems, and he wants me to ring at any time," Roach said.

"He just wants to help me out as much as he can - that's what he's like with everyone.

"But it did help me growing up hearing from Dad on what it takes to be a professional."

As well as facing the might of Serbia, the Sharks will play fellow super-power Hungary, before a game they are expected to win against China.

"Serbia and Hungary will be very tough, but we're aiming to beat China. That should put us into the final eight," Roach said.

At least Aiden, who takes after his father in that he is known as an enforcer in the pool, will have a good knowledge of the two mighty eastern European teams.

He played club water polo in Serbia for three years, and is soon to link up with Hungarian team Ferencvarosi.

Roach said the high level of professionalism among the European teams was part of the reason they enjoyed so much success, but did not rule out the Sharks testing the world's best.

"They play at a high level day-in, day-out. Playing in Serbia certainly helped my game ... their national players are treated like heroes," he said.

"But I can't see why we can't be up there one day."


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