Kookaburras have a demanding game one win over New Zealand
HOCKEY: The Kookaburras are one step closer to an Olympic qualification following the first win of the three match Oceania Cup series against the New Zealand Black Sticks.
A relentless Australian side came out firing, scoring two goals in the first quarter with straight shooting from Tom Craig seven minutes in and captain Aran Zalewski with three minutes left.
New Zealand managed to keep the persistent Aussies scoreless in the second half but through their defensive efforts, were unable to find a score themselves.
New Zealand picked up the intensity for the second half but a penalty corner nine minutes in saw Blake Govers in prime position to make the most of the pass.
A missed shot backed up by Flynn Ogilvie saw the Kookaburras claim their fourth.
The Black Sticks began to show heart and kept the Australian side on the back foot for much of the final quarter.
Despite the increased intensity and multiple penalty corner opportunities, they were unable to to complete a score.
Kookaburras' Jeremy Hayward was awarded man of the match.
Kookaburras' Colin Batch was rapt with the team's performance and said the goal now was to keep the pressure on the New Zealanders.
"It was a good start to the series, it's very important to play well early,” he said.
"Two goals in the first quarter was a dream start for us.”
He said the Black Sticks made them work hard for their third goal but he was happy with the team's ability to keep possession.
Batch said the convincing win would give the team the confidence to power through the rest of the campaign.
"We do prepare well, it's not an over confidence, but we do have faith in what we can do out there,” he said.
Matthew Swann's game in regaining possession caught the eye of Batch.
"When we got into strife with our defence, I thought he attached well,” he said.
Batch said the 18-man squad would remain unchanged for match two. The Kookaburras side have a day off between matches tomorrow and batch said he was unsure whether the boys would train or rest.