The Kookaburras have carried their 2009 good form into the new year defeating Korea 5-1 in their first game of 2010 in Hobart in the first of a three test series.
After winning the 2009 ABN AMRO Champions Trophy on home soil in Melbourne last December, the Kookaburras entered this series with form on their side.
With the 2010 Hero Honda FIH World Cup only a month away, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth was keen to put his team through their paces against a quality opposition in Korea.
However despite Korea being ranked 5th in the world, the Kookaburras controlled the match from beginning to end, sending ominous warning signs to their opposition at next month’s World Cup in New Delhi, India.
In what was the Kookaburras first match in Tasmania since 2005, the team didn’t disappoint the crowd early, controlling the ball in their half for most of the match.
With the Korean defense holding tight, the Kookaburras patiently worked the ball around their circle, eventually finding the dangerous Des Abbott alone at the top of the circle. Abbott made no mistake, making Korea pay for giving him so much room and scored the Kookaburras first goal at the 17 minute mark.
The Kookaburras defense also proved to be switched on, cutting off several fast break attempts by the Koreans in the first half, with goalkeeper Ross Meadows keeping a clean sheet in the first half.
Abbott continued to be a presence near the goals for the Kookaburras, however despite the Kookaburras dominance, they were unable to score another goal in the first half.
Determined to transfer their dominance to the scoreboard, the Kookaburras showed no mercy in the early stages of the second half. With regular flicker Luke Doerner missing from the squad due to injury, fellow Victorian Chris Ciriello stepped up to take a penalty corner at the 40 minute mark, giving the Kookaburras their second goal.
The Kookaburras further extended their lead only minutes later, with three time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer scoring the simplest of goals after youngster Glenn Simpson caused a turnover further up the field.
From here the flood gates had opened, with Eddie Ockenden and Russell Ford scoring to extend the Kookaburras dominance to 5-0.
A late goal to Korea at the 69 minute mark gave them some reward for their effort.
Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth praised his team, although conceded that he was unhappy to have allowed Korea to score so late in the game.
“I think it was a solid performance, although I obviously don’t like it when any team scores against us. I think the match was actually much closer than the scoreboard will show. I was pleased that we debuted yet another player in Kieran Govers and that he played well,” said Charlesworth.
The Kookaburras will face Korea again in game two of the series on Saturday 30 January.
Goals: Aus Abbott 17m FG, Aus Ciriello 40m PC, Aus Dwyer 42m FG, Aus Ockenden 46m FG, Aus Ford 61m FG, Kor Yoon 69m FG
Source: Hockey Australia
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