Kookaburras reach World League final
The Kookaburras have reached the gold medal grand final of the Hockey World League in Raipur after overcoming defending champions the Netherlands 3-2 in their semi-final.
First half goals from Dylan Wotherspoon and Daniel Beale put the Kookaburras in front but strikes from Constantijn Jonker and Mirco Pruijser either side of half time hauled the Netherlands level early in the third period before Matt Gohdes netted the winner.
Australia’s appearance record holder Jamie Dwyer, who had a hand in the first two goals, struck another milestone in the match, earning his 350th cap in an international career that began 14 years ago.
The Kookaburras will play the winner of tomorrow’s second semi-final, either India or Belgium, in Monday’s final (2:15am AEDT).
Head Coach Graham Reid admitted afterwards, “It wasn’t pretty but we got there in the end. I’m happy with the result but there’s lots for us to learn.
“We started really well but two-nil is probably the worst score in hockey because it’s not quite enough but something in the back of the mind makes you take the pedal off.”
Looking ahead to prospective opponents India and Belgium, Reid added, “We don’t mind who we play in the final because both teams will give us the sort of competition and pressure we’re chasing. If it’s Belgium, they’ll be out for revenge from Antwerp [where the Kookaburras won the final of the World League semi-final tournament]. If it’s India they’ll have the ‘12th man’ of a huge crowd behind them.”
As they had against Germany two days earlier, Australia began the match with a speed and intensity that put them in the driving seat early on.
Dylan Wotherspoon’s calm close range finish from Jamie Dwyer’s pass across the circle in the eighth minute came after the Kookaburras had already passed up several opportunities. Kieran Govers was denied by goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann from an early penalty corner while Aran Zalewski, Trent Mitton and Jeremy Hayward all had sight of goal before Wotherspoon struck.
At the other end, Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter’s point blank save denied the Dutch an immediate equaliser moments later.
Dwyer also had a hand in Daniel Beale’s goal midway through the second quarter. It was the 36 year-old’s diving deflection that Man of the Match Stockmann blocked, the ball falling into the path of Beale who knocked home his third goal of the tournament.
A stirring four minute period either side of half time brought the Netherlands back into contention as first Constantijn Jonker and then Mirco Pruijser struck. Shortly before the break, Jonker swiveled to fire home an upright reverse shot on the turn and four minutes later Pruijser deflected Jeroen Hertzberger’s miss-hit shot following a pacey Dutch counter attack.
Gohdes’ winning goal in the 42nd minute was another deflection, this time eluding the outstretched left foot of Stockmann to squeeze its way inside the post.
The Netherlands threw everything at the Kookaburras in search of another equaliser but Australia held firm, including denying the Dutch from three consecutive penalty corners.
News Source: Hockey Australia
2015 World League – First Semi Final:
KOOKABURRAS – 3 (2)
Dylan Wotherspoon 8 (FG), Daniel Beale 22 (PC), Matt Gohdes 42 (FG)
NETHERLANDS – 2 (1)
Constantijn Jonker 29 (FG), Mirco Pruijser 33 (FG)
Fixtures & Results
Friday 4 December
SF1: Kookaburras 3-2 Netherlands
Classification 5th/6th: Great Britain vs Argentina (2:15am AEDT Saturday)
Saturday 5 December
SF2: India vs Belgium (00:00am AEDT Sunday)
Classification 7th/8th: Germany vs Canada (2:15am AEDT Sunday)
Sunday 6 December
Bronze medal: Netherlands vs India OR Belgium (00:00am AEDT Monday)
Gold medal: Australia vs India OR Belgium (2:15am AEDT Monday)
Kookaburras’ squad vs Netherlands
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 103/0
Matthew Dawson (Central Coast, NSW) 31/5
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 123/6
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 350/234
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 115/57
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 215/16
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 274/22
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 84/34
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 261/63
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 186/54
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 76/8
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 71/15
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 142/47
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 44/16
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 59/0
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 127/6
Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW) 123/89
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) [QAS athlete] 22/6