Jamie Dwyer continued his good form in front of goal as his hat-trick led the Kookaburras to a 5-2 victory over Korea at the 24th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2015 on Wednesday. The three-time Olympian, later named Man of the Match, was joined on the score sheet by fellow Olympic gold medallist, captain Mark Knowles, and Eddie Ockenden, who struck his 60th goal for Australia.
After his record-breaking 322nd appearance for Australia’s Kookaburras in the opening game, Jamie Dwyer is in red-hot form. He is still as hungry as ever and have scored 6 goals in 3 matches played in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2015 taking his personal goal tally to 212 in the green and gold. He has now overtaken Jay Stacy, who retired following the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, as Australia’s most capped hockey player ever.
The result keeps the Kookaburras top of the standings after three matches, ahead of second place New Zealand Black Sticks on goal difference .The trans-Tasman rivals meet on Thursday evening. In earlier matches Australia defeated Canada by 7-0 on opening day and edged past hosts Malaysia by 3-2 on second day of the tournament.
It was a performance of which Head Coach Graham Reid declared he “couldn’t fault their attitude and endeavour”, although he cautioned “we can’t expect to win tournaments giving away 11 corners [in a match]. That’s something to work on.”
On Jamie Dwyer’s early form, Reid said, “He’s been hanging at the bit to play for Australia again. It’s good to see him keen. All the things we spoke about in November, we’re seeing the right actions here.”
Following a goalless opening quarter of an hour the Kookaburras found themselves behind to Seongkyu Kim’s penalty corner goal two minutes into the second quarter, but Dwyer’s strike a minute later restored parity.
Missing forward Glenn Turner, who suffered a pectoral injury in training earlier in the day and will play no further part in the tournament, Australia went ahead through captain Mark Knowles’ goal from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute. And a minute later Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden doubled the advantage with his 60th goal for the Kookaburras.
On the stroke of three-quarter time Dwyer struck again from a penalty corner and the 36 year-old forward completed his hat-trick soon after the restart. Korea pulled one back from a penalty corner through Jonghyun Jang six minutes from time, a reward for their persistence in winning 11 corners.
Reid added, “We’re doing a lot of learning here, which is part of it. We had a good session on set plays today and we saw some of that tonight. It’s [about taking] slow baby steps at the moment.”
Looking ahead to the clash with New Zealand Black Sticks, Reid said, “They’re playing very well. They’re looking sharp and it’s going to be a tough encounter. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Kookaburras’ fourth match of the Sultan Azlan Shah will be against New Zealand on Thursday 9 April, 8:10pm AEST/6:10pm AWST. The match will be shown on delay on Eurosport at 3:30pm AEST on Friday.
It was a slow first half for the Kookaburras and Malaysia, with neither team able to convert their attacking opportunities to break onto the scoreboard.
Australia broke through the Malaysian defence in the 43rd minute, after Jamie Dwyer was awarded a penalty stroke due to unfair play in Australia’s attacking circle. Stepping up to the spot, Dwyer flicked the ball on-target and into the back of the net, pushing the Kookaburras in front, 1-0.
Following ten minutes later, Dwyer well positioned got a quick shot away, making it 2-0. Malaysia, still yet to break onto the scoreboard found their opportunity at the 57th minute mark with Firhan Ashari halving the deficit 2-1.
Queenslander, Dylan Wotherspoon scored a last minute field goal and his second goal of the tournament in the 59th minute, making it 3-1. Quickly turning the ball around, Tengku Ahmad netted Malaysia’s second goal moments before the final siren, however, this wasn’t enough to knock the Kookaburras off their 3-2 victory.
Australia vs Canada match on opening day: In his record-breaking 322nd appearance for Australia’s Kookaburras, Jamie Dwyer showed that he is still as hungry as ever, scoring Australia’s fourth goal – his 207th in the green and gold – in a 7-0 win over Canada on day one of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, Victorian Tim Cross, making his debut for the Kookaburras, set things in motion with his first goal for his country just 12 minutes into the match. It was followed a minute later by young Queenslander Dylan Wotherspoon’s first goal in just his fifth senior appearance, putting Australia in the driving seat.
Despite the World Champions’ dominance over the 15th-ranked Canadians it remained 2-0 until shortly before three-quarter time when Eddie Ockenden struck a third. Dwyer, 36, this week tipped Ockenden, 28, to be the man to eventually replace him at the top of Australia’s all-time appearances list with Ockenden 100 caps behind the Olympic gold medallist. The Tasmanian was later named Man of the Match.
As the game entered its final ten minutes and play began to open up Dwyer struck, marking his return to senior international hockey after almost nine months away. His last game, and last goal, came in June’s World Cup final 6-1 demolition of the Netherlands in The Hague with the two-time World Cup winner not selected for the Commonwealth Games and ruled out of the Champions Trophy in December through injury.
With the goal the floodgates opened. Just 60 seconds later Western Australian forward Trent Mitton made it 5-0, closely followed by a Glenn Simpson penalty corner goal and a strike by Jake Whetton, who rounded off the scoring for 7-0.