Kookaburras finish on top
The Kookaburras have won the 2015 Oceania Cup over Kiwi rivals the New Zealand Black Sticks following up Thursday’s 3-1 win with a 3-2 victory in Stratford, New Zealand Sunday afternoon.
Australia’s senior players lead the way with an opening goal from Goulburn’s Glenn Turner four minutes after the starting whistle, followed by an on-target flick from Jamie Dwyer and a third quarter strike from Trent Mitton.
Kookaburras coach Paul Gaudoin said, “I thought we started really well and stuck to our game plan today putting a lot of pressure on New Zealand. We created many turnovers and opportunities to score, however, towards the end we went off course, which resulted in a tight second half. It’s good to win games where you feel like you have played well, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement for us.”
Speaking about this year’s Oceania Cup selection with a mix between experienced and inexperienced players, Gaudoin added, “The opportunity to get young guys playing and having senior players still showing what they can do is important. Again, today was a final, so the experience for everyone in our team is valuable.
“We will now go to India to play three test matches in Raipur and then look towards the World League finals in November/December. This will be a very big tournament featuring the world’s best countries.”
The Kookaburras pulled the trigger early in the match, after forward Glenn Turner netted a well-executed goal past the Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex just four minutes after the starting whistle, giving Australia an early lead 1-0.
Australia’s most capped player Jamie Dwyer showcased his world renowned skills, after managing to work the ball back down to the Kookaburras’ attacking circle, two minutes after Turner’s goal and flicking an on-target strike into the back of the net, 2-0.
At the other end, New Zealand’s forwards were working together well as a team, which quickly awarded them with their first opportunity at the 20th minute mark. Fighting back, James Coughlan took on Australia’s goalkeeper Tyler Lovell, halving the Black Sticks deficit 2-1.
The third quarter presented both teams with valuable opportunities, however, numerous penalty corners came and went. With no goals recorded for over 20 minutes, Trent Mitton quickly broke the ice for the Kookaburras. Working the ball through Australia’s attacking third, Mitton set-up a powerful strike from the top of the circle, sending the ball into the bottom left of the goals and adding to Australia’s tally 3-1.
The Kookaburras were not yet out of the woods with over a quarter remaining. New Zealand managed to work themselves a critical penalty corner opportunity to again half the deficit with Australia in the 53rd minute. Setting up their strongest battery, Kiwi Kane Russell pulled off a powerful strike that couldn’t be denied by keeper Tyler Lovell, setting the score at 3-2.
With three minutes remaining on the clock, it was do or die for New Zealand if they wanted to secure their place at the 2016 Olympic Games. Making a snap decision, the Black Sticks substituted their goalkeeper for a 12th man to try and increase their chances of deadlocking the score before the final siren, however, Australia’s robust defence denied them of any opportunity, finishing on top with the win 3-2.
The Kookaburras’ World League squad for Raipur, India will be named in the coming weeks. Australia will be joined by some of the world’s best team’s from 27 November to 6 December 2015. This tournament will be crucial in helping make selection for the prestigious 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
News Source: Hockey Australia
Men’s Oceania Cup tournament – Final
KOOKABURRAS – 3 (2)
Glenn Turner 4 (FG)
Jamie Dwyer 6 (FG)
Trent Mitton 44 (FG)
NEW ZEALAND BLACK STICKS – 2 (1)
Jame Coughlan 20 (FG)
Kane Russell 53 (PC)
Athlete (Hometown, State) caps/goals
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA) 25/0
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 24/3
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 117/6
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 345/232
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 135/45
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 17/16
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 210/16
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 269/22
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 256/63
Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW) 118/88
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 70/8
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, TAS) 4/2
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 102/2
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 13/5
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 174/113
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 54/0
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 11/5
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 72/27
Oceania Cup Final Standings
2. New Zealand