Australia completed a dominant week of hockey against New Zealand with a 4-1 win in the tri-nations final in chilly Cromwell today.
The inaugural tri-series in the far south proved popular with the crowds but if they were hoping for a strong performance by the recent Commonwealth champions, they were out of luck.
Australia won their two round-robin clashes 4-1 and 3-0, and lost their first game to world No 12 Japan 2-1 before winning the second 4-1.
World No 5 Australia, who have been harbouring bitter disappointment since being dunked 4-1 by fourth-ranked New Zealand on the Gold Coast last month, were spirited and committed throughout the week. They capped that impressively yesterday.
They finished their week's work having scored 11 goals and conceded only two against the Black Sticks.
"You've got to give Australia credit, they're a great team and hard to stop. They gave us a bit of a lesson," said Black Sticks assistant coach Sean Dancer, who has been acting head coach this week.
Jodie Kenny put Australia in front with a penalty stroke but experienced midfielder Sam Harrison equalised with a fine diving deflection off a penalty corner set move early in the second quarter.
Further goals by Ambrosia Malone, Emily Hurtz and Brooke Peris on the three-quarter time mark, made the win emphatic.
The Black Sticks have been without some key senior figures for the series. World Player of the Year finalist Stacey Michelsen is having a short overseas break, defender Liz Thompson is nursing a back niggle, and experienced Sam Charlton is recovering from knee surgery. But there were no excuses from Dancer.
"[Yesterday] was probably quite indicative of how the week has gone for us. We haven't had the consistency to get through games effectively.
"It's been a great learning experience and challenge for our group but the support from everyone down here in Cromwell and the wider region has been amazing," Dancer said.
The series was very much a local initiative, with businesses stumping up funding to put it on.
Crowds of about 1500 turned up for the transtasman matches. That should be enough to encourage Hockey New Zealand to repeat the exercise at some point.
Taking a game to far-flung areas has never been a poor idea and the locals repaid with interest.
All three teams are preparing for the World Cup in London in July. New Zealand and Australia are in the same pool.