Oceania Cup Day 3 - Australia v New Zealand
(Photo: FIH / Getty Images)
The Hockeyroos have gone down to New Zealand 4-2 in the third and deciding match of the Oceania Cup at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre in Hobart today.
The Australians who only needed a draw to take out the series on aggregate were unable to hold off a strong finishing New Zealand who dominated the second half of the match to take out the 2011 Oceania Cup title.
The match started at a frantic pace with both sides stamping their authority and wanting the upper hand early and attacking with purpose and intensity.
It was New Zealand who handed out the early blow after a well-executed penalty corner resulted in a Charlotte Harrison goal in the 7th minute to get things rolling for the Blacksticks.
New Zealand were playing with pace and purpose early and they were continually putting the Australian defence under the pump.
Australia were slowly responding to the Blacksticks’ pressure and were able to earn their first penalty corner through Hockeyroo third-gamer Emily Smith.
Jodie Schultz made no mistake with the variation and her drag flick in 14th minute went soaring high into the net to level the game for the Hockeyroos.
The Blacksticks continued to mount pressure and end to end hockey resulted in New Zealand skipper Kayla Sharland giving her side the lead in the 20th minute after a close range reverse stick strike made its way into the backboard.
Australia responded to the scoreboard pressure and Megan Rivers was busy in the midfield and up forward and the Hockeyroos began to get their hands on the ball in the midfield in the latter part of the half and looked the more dangerous side.
In the dying stages of the first half Australian skipper Madonna Blyth pounced on a ball which bounced off the NZ keeper and found Claire Messent who made no mistakes and levelled the game up with ten seconds to go.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half it was end to end hockey with both sides trying to gain the ascendancy.
Victorian duo Georgia Nanscawen and Claire Messent were busy on the Hockeyroos’ forward line whilst Katie Glynn and Anita Punt were looking dangerous up front for the Blacksticks.
New Zealand were growing in confidence as they continually started to get their hands on the ball in the midfield.
Continuing the trend of converting off their penalty corners, the Blacksticks were able to take the lead through Clarissa Eshuis whose precise drag flick gave them the advantage in the 58th minute.
Dominating in possession for the remainder of the match the New Zealanders extended their advantage in the 65th minute after rocket from Stacey Michelson from the top of the circle found Katie Glynn on the far left post.
The Hockeyroos increased their tempo in the final five minutes and desperately tried to find a goal to level and take the match into extra time but the New Zealand defence stood strong and denied the Australians at every attempt.
Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said it was his young side’s inexperience that cost them the match and the series today.
"We were below par today and it was a disappointing result. New Zealand were clinical and efficient today and utilised their chances”, Commens said.
“Today was an excellent learning opportunity and we played according to our maturity.
“It is an immature team and we saw the more seasoned New Zealand team show their experience and their bigger named players were able to step up and that was the difference”.
Commens said despite the series loss there were several positive signs to come out of the three matches.
“We were able to score penalty corners against world class penalty corner defence and we unearthed young talented players who are having an impact in games which is a positive aspect of our preparation for the London Olympics”.
Oceania Cup 2011, Hobart (AUS) - Fixtures and Results
Times are local
Thursday 6th October 2011
Men: New Zealand v Australia 3-0
Women: Australia v New Zealand 2-1
Friday 7th October 2011
Saturday 8th October 2011
Women: New Zealand v Australia 3-3
Men: Australia v New Zealand - 3-3
Sunday 9th October 2011
Women - Australia v New Zealand - 2-4
Men - New Zealand v Australia - 3.30pm
All matches are being live streamed courtesy of the Hockey Australia website. For more information, pleaseclick here.
Source: Hockey Australia Media Release