Australia 4defeated New Zealand 2
Goals: AUS – Liam De Young FG 11m, Travis Brooks FG 54m, Nathan Eglington FG 57m, Michael McCann FG 70m; NZL – Phillip Burrows FG 5m, Ryan Archibald PC 22m.
Hockey Australia: The Australian men have won the first of their World Cup Qualifying matches in Fiji, overcoming a one goal deficit at half time to overpower New Zealand 4-2 in Fiji.
The Black Sticks were the first to open the scoring when Phil Burrows deflected a goal in the fifth minute, however the lead was short lived when Liam De Young made his way through the New Zealand defence to sneak one through at eleven minutes.
A penalty corner in the 22nd minute saw New Zealand hit the lead again when Ryan Archibald pounced on a rebound at close range, it was a lead they took into the half time break with neither side able to break either defence for the remainder of the half.
In the early stages of the second half, the Kookaburras again struggled to get any ascendancy in their attacking half. However, a Travis Brooks field goal in the 54th minute got the Kookaburras rolling and Nathan Eglington jumped onboard when he converted three minutes later from the top of the circle.
With a 3-2 lead, Michael McCann made the score look a little flattering with a beautiful reverse stick which beat the New Zealand keeper to give the Kookaburras a 4-2 win.
For national coach, Barry Dancer, it was a pleasing result, although he feels his team has some work to do.
"It was a hard fought win and a much more dominant second half. There is a significant amount of improvement possible in the remainder of this tournament."
The Kookaburras play Fiji on Thursday, while the Black Sticks play them tomorrow. The top two teams after Thursday's match then progress to the final on Saturday to qualify for next year's World Cup Germany.
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