SPORTIES Hotel Dolphins stalwart Shaun Bennett is confident his team can bounce back after losing the latest installment of their Wagga Water Polo A-grade rivalry with Octopuses on Tuesday night.
With the competition returning from a four-week break, the Dolphins were made to pay for a lack of player numbers in an 11-8 loss.
It was the second time the Octopuses have reigned supreme over Sporties Dolphins this year.
The Sporties Dolphins won last year's grand final over their rivals via a penalty shootout, with the Octopuses winning the 2017 decider in the same dramatic fashion.
Rex Gallaher scored four goals for the Octopuses with Sebastian Brown and Jacob Collingridge both bagging doubles, while Kolby McMahon racked up three for Sporties Dolphins.
"We were a bit light on numbers and unfortunately the Octopuses got over us," Bennett said.
"It was still a good performance from our point of view with the numbers we had," Bennett said.
"We played pretty well and got a lot out of it, but we were overwhelmed in the end by a fresher and fitter Octopuses.
"There's a fair rivalry between the two teams that's built over the last couple of years, and at at the moment us two teams are up there again."
However Bennett believes it's far from a two-horse race, adamant Inland Power Solutions Dolphins are a premiership threat.
The IPS Dolphins didn't play on Monday night, registering an easy two competition points via a Raiders forfeit.
"I think the other Dolphins side, if they get their full team together, are going to be very competitive as well," Bennett said.
"In a four-team comp where you're guaranteed to make finals, they only have to be on their game then and could knock one of the top two off."