Abbott will Miss Olympics due to Injury, Russell Ford will Join in

The Australian men’s hockey team announced today that star striker Des Abbott has been replaced in the Kookaburras Olympic team due to a knee injury that has failed to improve since selection.

Abbott will be replaced in the team by Victorian striker Russell Ford, who was informed yesterday of the coaching team’s decision.

Ric Charlesworth said today it was the hardest decision he has ever had to make during his distinguished coaching career.

“Des is a walk up start, if his game is uncompromised, he is one of the world’s most brilliant players but the progressive knee injury has interfered in his game,” he said. Continue reading →

Kookaburras Clean Sweep Against New Zealand

The Australian men’s hockey team has secured a clean sweep of a three test series against New Zealand, in their last international hit out before the London Olympics, in Cairns tonight.

The Blacksticks, ranked seven, never troubled the world number one Kookaburras, who will head to the Games as gold medal favourites.

Kookaburra’s Coach Ric Charlesworth had mixed feelings about the series and asked for more consistency from his players.

“I thought it might be closer, in the end 15 goals to three, so it’s a pity we didn’t have more close games because that would have been better for us,” he said.

“But you have to deliver consistency and that was what was disappointing about tonight’s game, the last 6-7 minutes was appalling and i’m angry about that beacuse it’s just sloppy and we can’t afford that.” Continue reading →

Black Sticks lose final test against Australia

The Black Sticks Men have gone down 4-1 against Australia in the third and final test in Cairns tonight.

Coach Shane McLeod said his side has improved with each game played in this series, but there is still a lot of work to do over the next month as they build to the London Olympics.

“Australia is a team that test your game and are an extremely challenging side to play against, that’s why we are here. If you go off your game for just a few minutes they will punish you and score goals,” says McLeod.

“I thought both sides were relatively even and competitive in the first spell. But in the second half, we lapsed concentration and ended up on the back foot, there was a lot of turnover from both sides, but we were the worst offenders.” Continue reading →

Kookaburras Outclass Blacksticks in Second Test

The Kookaburras once again outclassed New Zealand with a convincing 5-1 win in the second game of a three test series at the Cairns Hockey Association in Queensland tonight.

Hockey Australia LogoStars Eddie Ockenden and Des Abbott were rested but it made no difference to the Australians, who once again showed the depth in their ranks, proving them a formiddable opponent.

Coach Ric Charlesworth said it was a solid performance but he felt the side was still stretched in some areas.

“There’s nothing that we don’t need to do better,” he said. “We let one in and that was a little bit sloppy, so we’ve got to get sharper.”

Queenslander Rob Hammond opened the scoring to the crowd’s delight when he sent home a bullet from the top of the circle at the 13 minute mark in the first half. Continue reading →

Australia beat Black Sticks 5-1 in second test

The world champions Australia punished the Black Sticks Men for the second night in a row, winning 5-1 in Cairns tonight.

“Overall, we put on a better performance tonight. It was a very competitive first half, but the Aussies were relentless in the second half and mentally and physically we struggled to keep up with their pace,” says Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod.

In a repeat of last night’s game, Australian Rob Hammond opened the scoring in the 13th minute. The Black Sticks replied eleven minutes later, after a good pass from Phil Burrows found Stephen Jenness who hit it to the back of the net. Continue reading →

World champions Australia beat Black Sticks

It was a tough first test for the Black Sticks Men, beaten 6-1 by world champions Australia in Cairns tonight.

The Australians, who led 2-1 at half time, were quick on the counter attack allowing them to create opportunities and capitalise on them throughout the game.

“It is a disappointing result, but sometimes the biggest losses are the biggest learnings. We came here to find out where the cracks are in our game, we will review the video tomorrow and see how we can improve,” says Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod. Continue reading →