The Black Sticks Men have finished second at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne after being defeated 3-1 by hosts Australia in the final.

New Zealand played well for much of the match but the world number one ranked Kookaburras were able to capitalise on more of their chances.

Head coach Colin Batch said the final result was disappointing but there have been many positives that have come out of the series.

"Its obviously disappointing to lose a final like that. We fought very hard in the second half to get back into it and were in a position there where we couldve levelled the game," he said.

"Overall Im pleased with the new guys in the squad, theyve experienced some high quality games both here in Melbourne and at the Trans-Tasman Trophy.

"It was really important we made the final, and also our win over India which was virtually their Olympic team was pleasing so we head home with some positives to build on."

The match opened with the pace and attacking intensity deserving of a final as both the Black Sticks and Kookaburras came within inches of scoring on several occasions.

Australia grabbed the advantage in the 24th minute when Trent Mitton slipped a squeeze shot past goalkeeper Richard Joyces left shoulder in his 100th game for the Kookaburras.

The Kiwis earned their first penalty corner of the match in the 37th minute but after the flick was defended, the Kookaburras broke away and scored at the other end through Christopher Bausor.

Defender Kane Russell stepped up from a 48th minute penalty corner and slammed a drag flick low and into the corner to cut Australias lead in half.

The Kiwis fought hard to try and find an equaliser but were unable to cut through the defence before the Kookaburras sealed the result one minute from fulltime with a close range strike from Jeremy Hayward.

Defender Nick Haig brought up his 200th test for New Zealand in the match.

BLACK STICKS 1: (Kane Russell)

AUSTRALIA 3: (Trent Mitton, Christopher Bausor, Jeremy Hayward)

Halftime: Kookaburras 1-0



- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ