The Vantage Black Sticks Men have finished second at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne after being edged 2-1 by hosts Australia in the final.
New Zealand played well through large patches of the game but weren’t able to stop the world number two ranked Kookaburras finding the back of the net.
Australia opened the scoring right on the stroke of halftime when Jake Whetton slipped a ball past goalkeeper Richard Joyce.
Blake Govers doubled his side’s lead midway through the third quarter after ripping a penalty corner drag flick into the roof of the net.
The Black Sticks kept themselves in the game when George Muir scored an opportune field goal in the 49th minute to reduce the deficit.
The Kiwis continued to press hard and mount pressure on the Kookaburras over the final 10 minutes but couldn’t find an equalising strike.
Vantage Black Sticks captain Arun Panchia was pleased with the effort from his side despite the final result.
“We’re pleased with our progress throughout the tournament and played one of our better games here tonight against Australia,” he said.
“It was good to put together a performance like that in the final. We knew Australia would create chances but we defended our circle well and held them out well for most of the match.
“It was a great game but we’re definitely disappointed with the final result and we have plenty to work on going forward.”
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VANTAGE BLACK STICKS: 1 (George Muir)
AUSTRALIA: 2 (Jake Whetton, Blake Govers)
Halftime: Australia 1-0