Far Northern Olympian shoots to prominence in women's water polo
BILLED as having one of the most powerful shots in women's water polo, it did not take long for Cardwell sensation Ashleigh Southern to show the world what she has to offer.
The youngest member of the Australian team scored a goal on debut to help the Stingers down Italy 10-8 in the team’s first match of the Olympics in the early hours of yesterday morning.
After Tweeting before the match, "(I) can’t believe this day is finally here," the 19-year-old shrugged off any jitters to score a third-quarter penalty to give Australia a commanding 8-4 lead in the final term.
The former Cardwell State School student scored eight goals in her national debut against the US in Sydney two years ago.
She is enjoying a swell of support from her home town, with many people setting their alarms to see her in action.
Cardwell Sea Foods owner Mary Cini said the community was behind her.
"There are a lot of kids here who went to school with her and they’re all staying up to watch the matches," she said.
"She’s really popular here, I hope she does well."
Southern will look to continue her good form when the Stingers take on Great Britain tomorrow at 4.40am (AEST).
The game is shaping as a grudge match, with the Brits last year labelling Australia as "dirty".
Australia won the inaugural women’s water polo title at the Sydney Olympics.
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The shot heard around the world: Ashleigh Southern's efforts for Australia in the women's water polo at the London Olympics were loudly cheered in her home town of Cardwell. Picture: GETTY IMAGES