Hockey: Australia too strong for Black Sticks

Stephen Jenness scored for New Zealand after 11 minutes. Photo / Getty Images.
Stephen Jenness scored for New Zealand after 11 minutes. Photo / Getty Images.

Australia 5
New Zealand 1

The New Zealand men's hockey side went to Australia to discover how much progress they had made in recent times and they have found out the Kookaburras still set the bench mark in world hockey.

The Black Sticks, who won the recent Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia, were vastly improved tonight from the side hammered 6-1 in the first of three tests between the two sides 24 hours earlier but still found themselves well beaten in Cairns.

They defended stoutly and also forced Australia goalkeeper Nathan Burgers into some fine saves but Australia showed their class as they won comfortably. The Kookaburras are hot favourites for gold in London and play at a pace few teams are able to match.

They opened the scoring in the 16th minute through Rob Hammond but New Zealand levelled 11 minutes later through Stephen Jenness, who took advantage of Australia's gamble to substitute goalkeeper Burgers for an additional outfield player.

Kieran Govers ensured his side took a 2-1 lead into the break when he scored from a rebound from his own penalty corner five minutes before halftime.

He grabbed his second with a drag flick 10 minutes after halftime and Jason Wilson put the game beyond doubt with a great solo run six minutes from time. Glenn Simpson gave the score a flattering look two minutes later.

Both teams are using the series as part of their final preparations for the Olympics and the good news for the Black Sticks is Australia have been drawn in the opposite pool in London.

The third test is in Cairns on Monday night.

Australia 5 (Rob Hammond, Kieran Govers 2, Jason Wilson, Glenn Simpson) New Zealand 1 (Stephen Jenness). HT: 2-1.

- APNZ

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