The Australians have beaten the Junior Black Sticks Men and Women in today’s final games at the Junior World Cup Qualifiers on the Gold Coast.
The women lost 3-2 and came agonisingly close from equalising in the last few minutes from well-earned penalty corners and clever field play and the men lost 4-2, with both Kiwi sides leading the scoring early on.
Head coach Grant Edwards said his side played some outstanding hockey today and positive progress has been made throughout the tournament.
“The first half was some of the best hockey that this team has played, they really stretched Australia in the first half which was encouraging to see, but we just couldn’t match them in the second,” said Edwards.
Benedict van Woerkom scored a field goal in the 12th minute and although the Kiwis were awarded four penalty corners throughout the half, they were unable to convert. Locked at 1-1 at the break, Australia returned to the turf a different side, putting pressure on the Kiwi’s distribution at the back and scoring in the 47th, 50th and 57th minute. Drag flicker Kane Russell scored a penalty corner in the 60th minute.
Jared Panchia was a stand-out player in the first half but had to leave the turf with an injured calf. Other stand-outs were goalkeeper Richard Joyce, Gabriel Kepes and Jeremy Morris.
“We have made very good progress during this tournament. Our organisation in defence and our ability to create opportunities in attack has been evident. We have been extremely competitive, but there is still areas that we really need to improve,” says Edwards.
In the women’s game, the Kiwis were all-go from the opening whistle with Jenny Storey scoring in the second minute from a penalty corner. However, Australia replied shortly after with a field goal and then stretched the lead to 2-1 by half time.
In the second spell, a cross from the left side by Rachel McCann was deflected in by Felicity Reidy but the 2-2 score line again did not remain and Australia took the lead. Sustained pressure by New Zealand in the last eight minutes created a number of opportunities and they were unlucky not to convert.
Stand out players were midfielder Brooke Neal and defender Jenny Storey.
The Junior Black Sticks Women will face Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, England, Spain, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Korea, Netherlands, South Africa and United States at the Junior World Cup likely to be held in Germany in July.
While the men will face Argentina, Belgium, Canada, England, Spain, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan and South Africa at the Junior World Cup likely to be held in India in December.
Both teams return to New Zealand tomorrow. The National U21 Tournament will be the selection event for squads for the Junior World Cups.
Australia 3, New Zealand 2 (Jenny Storey, Felicity Reidy). HT: 2-1 Australia
Australia 4, New Zealand 2 (Benedict van Woerkom, Kane Russell). HT: 1-1
Junior World Cup Qualifier (Gold Coast), NZ Time
Wednesday 27 Feb – Australia (3-1 Australia win)
Friday 1 March – Australia (4-1 Australia win)
Sunday 3 March – Australia (3-2 Australia win)
Hockey New Zealand