Kookaburras trounce Blacksticks in series opener
Friday June 22, 2012
The Kookaburras defeated New Zealand 6-1 in the opening match of a three test series at the Cairns Hockey Association in Queensland tonight without six athletes bound for London.
Five time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer, Simon Orchard, Liam De Young, Matthew Butturini and Matthew Swann sat out the match injured, while Glenn Turner was rested.
But despite the dominant scoreline Kookaburras Coach Ric Charlesworth was not satisfied.
“It was a solid performance, I’m not so concerned about the scoreline, that’s ok but we had periods of the game where we were shaky and we need to learn from that,” Charlesworth said.
“Five players on their way to London did not play, so the real measure of where we are at is hard to make. It was a credit to those guys who played tonight, they had a pretty solid game.”
One of those was Russell Ford who scored a double tonight and was the Kookaburras best forward.
“He’s been playing well all year and was desperately unlucky to miss out on the team but that’s the competitive nature of the group,” Charlesworth said.
Chris Ciriello opened the scoring off a drag flick for Australia and Des Abbott slotted a scramble in the circle home minutes later before the Blacksticks hit back through a great solo run from Nick Wilson to trail 1-2 at the break.
Ford scored twice in the second, Joel Carroll sent home a superb penalty corner strike to convert only his second international goal and Kieran Govers scored seconds before the final whistle.
“The goal against.....I don’t like that,” Charlesworth said.
“We’ve still got some problems that we need to remedy, I’d like our defence to be more solid than it was and we made too many unforced errors.”
Rob Hammond,Kiel Brown and Russell Ford all proved they want that trip to London as the 17 and 18 player with strong performances.
Blacksticks Coach Shane McLeod said Australia got off to a flying start and New Zealand were chasing from the outset.
“Australia play a game that is a lot faster than we have faced over the last few months. We struggled with the tempo but it’s a good rehearsal and that’s what we came over for,” he said.
“Speed challenges the execution of your game and means it has to be sharper and much more economical on the ball and we need to be more clinical when we get opportunities.
“With such depth in the Australian squad players are out to prove a point and some of those left out of the Olympics played very well tonight.”
Kookaburra Simon Orchard sidelined with injury said his team controlled the match but lacked composure in the circle.
“We pressed well were aggressive and created turnovers but despite the scoreline we lacked composure in the circle at times,” he said.
The Kookaburras take on the Blacksticks in the second test at 6pm Saturday night.
“Tonight’s result makes tomorrow night a harder game because there will be a reaction to the scoreline,” Charlesworth said.
“So we can expect it to be a tough and hard encounter.”
• Have a view on this story? Send us your feedback!
Godwin extends stay with Force
Wallabies squad for Lions Tour confirmed
Waratahs earn courageous win over experienced Force side
Boomers level series with China thrashing
Phoenix release five players
Reds score two tries in historic Lions tour match
McBreen to join Ibini in Shanghai
Six-try victory shoots Brumbies into finals
China holds off late Boomers fightback