The Vantage Black Sticks Men have fallen to Australia in the first match of the Oceania Cup in Rockhampton. Australia have stormed away with a 4-0 win to get their Oceania campaign off to a flyer in the first match. The sides will return to the turf on Saturday for game two in the best of three series.
Darren Smith commented ahead of the second test “We are going to need a significant improvement with the ball and looking for more intent and go forward with the possession that we get. We need to make sure we are strong and robust on defence to stop a quality side like Australia from taking their chances. Australia came out in this game strongly and we need to match them in the first quarter of the game on Saturday”
The first match of the Oceania Cup got underway between the Vantage Black Sticks and Australia. The Kookaburras were looking to blow the Kiwis away in the first quarter as they hit the front in the fifth minute when Tom Craig converted a powerful forehand shot after some great sustained pressure from the Kookaburras. Australia had their second goal when the Vantage Black Sticks Men couldn’t clear their defensive circle, Aran Zalewski then put a well-placed reverse shot towards the goal that was deflected in by Tim Brand.
The Kookaburras continued to apply pressure in the second quarter as they looked to increase their two-goal lead. With the quarter winding down the Kiwis found some space in the Australian circle and constructed several chances to get themselves back in the game. At the half time break the Australians were holding a narrow two goal lead.
Australia started the second half in a positive fashion after earning a penalty corner Blake Govers stepped up and converted the low hard drag flick. They continued applying pressure on the New Zealand side who were struggling to get through the Australian press. The Kookaburras looked to seal the match when Flynn Ogilvie was left unmarked in the New Zealand circle and tapped home the loose ball leaving the Kookaburras with a 4-0 lead.
The Vantage Black Sticks Men started the fourth quarter strongly seeking to find their first goal of the match. The New Zealand side pushed hard looking for a consolation goal in the final quarter. Despite several chances the Kookaburras defence was staunch and wouldn’t allow the Black Sticks the chance to get onto the score sheet.
The two sides will return to the turf at 8pm on Saturday evening for game two of the Oceania Cup.
Vantage Black Sticks 0
Kookaburras 4 (Tom Craig 5 min, Tim Brand 12 min, Blake Govers 36 min, Flynn Ogilvie 40 min)