The Black Sticks Men have been defeated 3-1 by hosts Australia at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne.

The Kookaburras powered to a three goal lead in the first quarter and while the Kiwis fought back hard they were unable to overcome the deficit.

Defender Kane Russell scored New Zealands goal midway through the third quarter when he rocketed a penalty corner flick into the top of the net.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was a rough first quarter but overall his side played some quality hockey against the world number one ranked Kookaburras.

"If you look at the stats they had a lot of ball in that first quarter and we allowed them to score three goals. They certainly took their chances and we didnt so it was hard work from there," he said.

"I was very pleased with our second half and particularly in the final quarter I think we showed some real fight to come back from a miserable start.

"We were able to hurt them in some areas and Kane scored a superb goal. Our finishing and quality in fourth quarter was very good so we need to take that into our next game against India."

Australia had the Kiwis under early pressure and opened the scoring in the eighth minute with Dylan Wotherspoon getting a final touch on a pass into the circle.

Kieran Govers scored just one minute later after displaying some quick reflexes to collect a deflection off the post and send a shot in past goalkeeper Richard Joyce.

The Kookaburras pushed out to a three goal lead in the 15th minute when Aaron Kleinschmidt was left unmarked in the circle to smash a forehand shot into goal.

The Black Sticks played a much better second quarter and threatened to score their first goal from several penalty corners, but Australias defence held firm.

New Zealand lifted the intensity after the break and Kane Russell lit up the scoreboard in the 41st minute, ripping a penalty corner drag flick into the roof of the net.

The fourth quarter saw the Black Sticks create some threatening phases of play but they were unable to cross the Australian goal line.

Tomorrow is a rest day before the Black Sticks do battle with India at 7:00pm on Saturday night (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport.

BLACK STICKS 1: (Kane Russell)

KOOKABURRAS 3: (Dylan Wotherspoon, Kieran Govers, Aaron Kleinschmidt)

Halftime: Kookaburras 3-0

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