Dramatic second Test decided in last minute
HOCKEY: The stage is set for a thrilling end to the Oceania Cup in Rockhampton on Sunday.
The Hockeyroos levelled the Test series up with a last-gasp 3-2 win over the New Zealand women on Saturday, while the New Zealand men kept their hopes alive with a 2-all draw with the Kookaburras.
The New Zealand women won the opening Test 3-1 on Thursday, while the Kookaburras scored a convincing 4-nil win.
There is plenty at stake for the four teams, with the series winners qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Kookaburras looked on track to repeat Thursday's result, leading 2-nil at half-time courtesy of goals to Blake Govers and Tom Wickham.
But New Zealand pegged one back soon after the main break and then levelled with five minutes left in the third quarter.
It became an arm wrestle with both teams trying desperately to break the deadlock but neither could and the game finished all square.
Despite Saturday's result, the Kookaburras still have the upper hand.
After their four-goal win on Thursday, they need only draw or not lose by five goals or more on Sunday to qualify for the Olympics and claim the Oceania Cup.
Meanwhile, the Hockeyroos scored in the last minute of a see-sawing contest to send the series to a decider.
The game looked destined for a 2-all draw before the Aussies launched one final assault.
Emily Chalker did some brilliant work on the backline, sending the perfect pass to Renee Taylor who slotted the winner with just 56 seconds on the clock.
Hockeyroos co-captain Jodie Kenny described it as an amazing team performance.
"It was an excellent win,” she said post-match.
"Obviously disappointing that first game but we had lots of fire in our belly and I'm just so proud of the girls.
"We knew it was going to be a really tough battle and we were going to have to fight to the last minute and it showed.”
Rockhampton Hockey Association president Barb Knowles said it was exciting that both the men's and women's series were going to a decider.
"We've got two live games tomorrow,” she said on Saturday night.
"If you were writing the script how much better could it be?
"We've had four fantastic Test matches so far and we're set for two more.”
The women play at 4pm, the men at 6.15pm.
Tickets are still available; reserved seating $35 online or general admission $25 online or at the gate. Go to rockhamptontickets.com.au.