The Black Sticks Men have fought gallantly against a strong Australian side before eventually falling 4-3 in a nail-biting finish. The Black Sticks found themselves early but managed to stick with the Kookaburras all the way through the match and ultimately ran out of time. The New Zealand Men saw some of the experienced players step up and play some incredible hockey which looks to have set them up well for the rest of the competition.
The Black Sticks and Australia started the match in an arm wrestle as both sides were looking to find gaps in the opposing teams defence. The Black Sticks Men were playing with confidence and looking to shock the Australian side. In the last two minutes of the quarter the Kookaburras managed to in quick succession put two goals into the goal.
The New Zealand Men managed to regroup in the second quarter and started applying pressure onto the Australian side. Late in the second quarter the Black Sticks had a series of penalty corners and went close on a number of chances including a shot that was fired off the crossbar. George Muir turned the pressure into a goal when he weaved his way in the circle and popped the ball in past Australia’s goalkeeper.
The second half started similar to the first with both sides playing some positive hockey. The Black Sticks managed to find the back of the goal first in the second half when Jarred Panchia was left unmarked in the circle and powered home his shot. The Kookaburras got their one goal buffer back when late in the third quarter Blake Govers flicked a low hard drag flick into the goal.
Australia extended their lead further when Blake Govers scored his second goal of the match on another low drag flick. The New Zealand side gave themselves a chance at tying the game when Mac Wilcox reversed the ball into the the Australian goal with two minutes to go.
Vantage Black Sticks Men3 (George Muir 29 min, Jarred Panchia 37 min, Mac Wilcox 59 min)
Australia4 (Tom Craig 14 min, Flynn Ogilvie 15 min, Blake Govers 41, 51 min)