The world number one Kookaburras defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the Kookaburras Cup at Perth Hockey Stadium on Saturday evening.
Olympic Gold medallist, Rob Hammond scored the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute as the Kookaburras harassed the Dutch into mistakes on the ball and often caught the former Olympic Champions in possession.
After a frantic first half of half-chances to both teams, the score remained dead-locked at the break.
The Kookaburras were more direct towards goal than their third-ranked visitors and enjoyed a surfeit of possession and territory.
The Kookaburras had beaten the Dutch 2-1 earlier in the week, and despite another improved performance by the Dutch, the Kookaburras cleverly changed tactics and the pace of the game which successfully frustrated the Dutch.
The Kookaburras forced their first penalty corner on 10 minutes but failed to score from the set piece.
Eddie Ockenden almost opened the scoring on 19 minutes after latching onto a superb cross supplied by Tim Deavin, but his first-time shot hit the post.
Minutes later defender Brent Dancer was dispossessed close to the Kookaburra's circle but the Dutch could not convert this chance as the cover defence was quick to close down the space and denied the attack a credible shot on goal.
The Kookaburras had a chance to double their ascendency on 27minutes after Liam de Young dispossessed midfielder Sander de Wijn on the halfway-line and forced a penalty corner after a great probing run.
The Kookaburras missed their chance to score though with Luke Doerner’s drag-flick flying wide of the mark.
The Dutch did create chances in the first half but often broke down at the final pass due to the press that the Kookaburras applied so well.
The breakthrough for the World Number One team came seven minutes into the second half, as fleet-footed Jamie Dwyer drew three Dutch defenders before releasing the ball into the circle for Hammond to slot home from a goal-mouth scramble.
Both teams could have done more with limited opportunities, but it was the Kookaburras who were rewarded for a more determined effort over the full 70minutes.
Earlier in the evening, Australia A defeated Argentina to add to their previous two victories over the South American team in the series.
Australia A led 3-0 at the break with Western Australian players playing a part in all three goals. First Chris Bausor scored from a penalty corner rebound on 10 minutes Margaret River product, Aran Zalewski, doubled the lead on 12 minutes later.
And with five minutes remaining before the break, Trent Mitton delivered a blistering reverse stick ball across goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi and Tom Wickham did well to deflect the ball into goal as Australia A took control of an entertaining first half.
Argentina had a great opportunity to draw level midway through the second half but the shot at goal from a penalty corner was cleared off the line by defender, Joel Carroll.
The visitors finally pulled a goal back on 64 minutes through Agustin Mazzilli, but it was Australia A who finished deserved winners on the night.
The series continues on Sunday with Australia A looking for their first win over the Dutch in the series at Perth Hockey Stadium at 5pm. Entry is free.
Kookaburras 1 (Rob Hammond 41m FG) defeated Netherlands 0.
Australia A 3 (Chris Bausor 10m PC, Aran Zalewski 22m FG, Tom Wickham 30m FG) defeated Argentina 1 (Agustin Mazzilli 64m FG).
Hockey Australia media release
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