Fourth quarter strikes seal Kookaburras victory
Two final quarter strikes from forwards Jake Whetton and Aran Zalewski led the Kookaburras to a 2-1 victory over a dominating Indian side in their second test match in Chhattishgarh Monday morning.
Coming out of the barriers strong, India’s forwards dominated a majority of the ball possession in the first half. Under the bar for the Kookaburras, Leon Hayward responded well to India’s constant pressure, denying them access on several occasions.
It was at the 20th minute mark that the Kookaburras settled and secured their first penalty corner opportunity. Chris Ciriello stood tall at the top of the circle, however, his low drag flick was quickly cleared by the Indian defence and the score remained unbroken.
After reading the play well, India’s forward Devindar Walmiki created a valuable opportunity after deflecting the ball past Australia’s goalkeeper, pushing India in front with a 1-0 lead at the 23rd minute mark.
Another Australian corner followed India’s second quarter strike, however, Indian’s number one runner cleared Kieran Govers’ on-target flick.
Heading into the final quarter of the match, Kookaburras head coach Graham Reid called for a three touch style of hockey, Reid’s decision quickly paid dividends for Australia when they netted two strikes from two touches. Flynn Ogilvie found Jake Whetton’s stick in the circle in the 47th minute, which had Whetton deflecting the ball past India’s goalkeeper Sreejesh Parattu and deadlocking the score 1-1.
Following Whetton’s strike one minute later, Aran Zalewski fired a fast past strike towards the goal. Under pressure from Kookaburras’ Simon Orchard, Zalewski’s oncoming ball made contact with an Indian stick which deflected into Australia’s territory, sealing the Kookaburras a 2-1 victory on the final siren.
Kookaburras assistant coach Paul Gaudoin said, “It was an unstable first few quarters, we struggled to handle the ball and when you’re not handling the ball well it makes it extremely difficult to do anything structurally or technically.
“To the boys’ credit, they were able to persist and run the game out, however, we know going into tomorrow’s match that we’re going to have to move the ball a lot of better throughout the game to ensure another win.”
Speaking about the decision to move to a three touch style of hockey in the final quarter of the match, Gaudoin added, “We were just trying to simplify the match. The game usually takes care of itself when the guys are playing simple hockey rather than trying to do too much with the ball. When we have good basics we play very well.”
The Kookaburras third and final test before the Hero Hockey World League Final is at midnight on Tuesday morning AEDT, live on Fox Sport 3.
News Source: Hockey Australia
Second Test Match:
KOOKABURRAS – 2 (0)
Jake Whetton 47 (FG), Aran Zalewski 48 (FG)
INDIA – 1 (1)
Devindar Walmiki 23 (FG)
Kookaburras Squad for Indian Test Series
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, TAS) 6/2
Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD) 170/6
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 104/2
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 176/114
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 15/5
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 118/6
Leon Hayward (GK) (Darwin, NT) 12/0
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 13/5
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 180/54
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 99/42
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 71/9
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 65/12
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA) 27/0
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 26/3
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 109/56
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 129/23
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 65/3
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) [QAS athlete] 16/4
Did Not Play – Additional Squad Members
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 136/45
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 17/16
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 38/13
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 78/32
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 122/6