(Photo: © Hockey Australia / Daniel Carson)

Netherlands spoil Charlesworth's Kookaburra coaching debut

The Netherlands have gained some revenge from the Beijing Olympics and spoiled Ric Charlesworth's debut as Kookaburras coach, defeating the Kookaburras 4-2 in Busselton, Australia

Although the Kookaburras defeated the Netherlands 6-2 in the Bronze Medal match of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the tables were turned during the first game of the 2009 Summer Series.

The first half began as a fairly even affair, with both teams controlling their share of the ball throughout the midfield. Debutant goalkeeper Ross Meadows had a baptism of fire in the opening minutes, but produced an impressive save from a penalty corner at the nine minute mark.

The Kookaburras began to work their way on top throughout the first half, with Eli Matheson threatening the goals after a strong delivery from Des Abbott to no avail.

The Kookaburras defense looked settled with the likes of Luke Doerner and Mark Knowles filling key positions following the retirements to Bevan George and Matthew Wells.

However when Luke Doerner was forced to leave the pitch due to injury the Dutch pounced, with three time world player of the year Teun de Nooijer scoring in the 30th minute.

When the Netherlands scored again only minutes later they were well on top, and although Grant Schubert remained a target up forward for the Kookaburras, they entered the half time break scoreless, while allowing another Dutch goal at the 35th minute.

The Kookaburras return to the pitch a more determined team after half time, with Des Abbott becoming increasingly dangerous up forward.

Abbott eventually put the Kookaburras on the scoreboard in the 48th minute following a strong pass from the midfield.

When Eddie Ockenden drew a penalty stroke following some strong skill work in the circle, midfielder Rob Hammond converted the crucial goal, bringing the Kookaburras back in the game.

When Jeroen Hertzberger scored in the 61st minute the task loomed ominous for the Kookaburras, with coach Ric Charlesworth ruing his teams' disappointing end of the first half where the Dutch scored three unanswered goals.

'In the end it was five minutes of madness that cost us and we paid the price for it. No one really played to their full capacity and there is room for improvement, but that is something I understand', said Charlesworth.

Netherlands – Australia 4-2 (3-0)

Goals - Ned De Nooijer 30m FG, Ned Hofman 32m FG, Ned Hoyng 35m FG, Aus Abbott 48m FG, Aus Hammond 59m PS, Ned Hertzberger 61m FG

Remaining Matches:
Game 2: Wednesday 21 January  Bunbury Hockey Stadium 18:30
Game 3: Friday 23 January Perth Hockey Stadium 19:00
Game 4: Sunday 25 January Perth Hockey Stadium, 19:00

Source: Hockey Australia