Australia's men's water polo team have suffered a loss against world champions Italy in a key warm-up tournament for the London Olympics.
The Aussie Sharks went down 8-3 in their opening game of the Cosenza Trophy in Italy early on Thursday morning (AEST).
The Italian hosts jumped to a 3-1 lead at the first break, before scoring two goals in each of the next three periods.
Thomas Whalan, Richie Campbell and Jamie Beadsworth were the only players to net a goal for Australia.
Despite the defeat, Sharks coach John Fox said he was encouraged by the team's overall performance against the European heavyweights.
"Our defence was reasonably good today and our attacking systems worked well," Fox said.
"But we just couldn't convert on the scoreboard and you can't win games by scoring three goals."
The Aussies are set to play Italy again in their first match at the London Olympics.
Before then, they'll face Greece in their second match of the Cosenza tournament at 12.20am (AEST) Friday.