The New Zealand men's hockey team experienced a tough first test in their build-up to the Olympics last night, being beaten 6-1 by world champions Australia in Cairns.
The Australians, who led 2-1 at halftime, were quick on the counter-attack which allowed them to create numerous opportunities throughout the game.
"It is a disappointing result, but sometimes the biggest losses are the biggest learnings,'' Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod said. ``We came here to find out where the cracks are in our game, we will review the video tomorrow and see how we can improve.'
Rob Hammond started the scoring for Australia in the 11th minute when he converted a penalty corner, and Des Abbott made it 2-0 two minutes later.
Palmerston North's Nick Wilson put the Black Sticks on the scoreboard in the 20th minute when he scored from a tight angle thanks to a good pass from Simon Child.
But the Australians got on a roll early in the second half, with Russell Ford scoring in the 36th minute before Joel Carroll converted a penalty corner to make it 4-1.
With 10 minutes left to play, Ford got his second goal of the night and Abbott also completed his double in the final minute.
The Black Sticks play their second test against Australia tonight at 8pm (NZT).
Australia 6 (R Hammond, D Abbott 2, R