Kookaburras Claim Victory at International Festival of Hockey

Hockey | Published: Thu 16 November 2017

The Kookaburras have followed up their recent Oceania Cup victory with a win at the International Festival of Hockey last Sunday, beating New Zealand 2-1 in the gold medal match.

In their fourth time versing New Zealand in six days, the Kookaburras could not have been in a better place to take victory, the win making it six consecutive wins against the Black Sticks.

The Australians came out hungry for the win, determined to leave no stone unturned.
 
A goal from New Zealand in the 49th minute sent nerves through the Australian side however in the end they managed to hold on and claim the International Festival of Hockey title. 
 
"They came out really tough. They showed why they're such a good team," said Kookaburra, Jake Whetton. 
 
 
"We knew they were going to come out at the last bit and it was a good disciplined effort by the boys to stay 2-1 up."
 
The Kookaburras sealed their spot in the gold medal match on Thursday night after defeating New Zealand in the round matches, 4-1.
 
Strong attacking efforts from the Australians along with a number of good saves from Western Australian Tristan Clemons proved too tough for the Black Sticks to combat on the night. 
 
In their final match before the finals the Kookas took victory over Japan 6-1 with five separate athletes contributing to the scoreboard.
 
The Hockeyroos also experienced success in their closing match of the International Festival of Hockey, defeating the USA 5-0 to claim third place.
 
Australia's first goal of the match was an own goal from the USA after a goal attempt from Madi Ratcliffe.
 
The Hockeyroos rounded off their goal tally with a stream of four goals in the third quarter. 
 
"I think it was a bit of determination. We lost badly yesterday. We got outplayed," said Jane Claxton of their previous game against Japan.
 
"Today we wanted to prove ourselves and to the rest of the world that we can mix it with the top 10 in the world." 
 
Prior to versing the USA in the third place showdown, Australia defeated them 3-2 on Thursday night.
 
After falling behind 2-0, Australia stepped it up to another level in the second half to roll on to the one goal victory.
 
"At half time we got a pretty hard message. It was about passing to the free player and not mucking around with the ball. First player you see that's open, just give it to them," said Hockeyroos forward, Brooke Peris.
 
"That's what worked and that's how we came back to win."
 
In their final match before the finals the Australians had to take victory over Japan in order to claim a spot in the gold medal match and take on world number one, the Netherlands. 
 
Unfortunately it was not to be as the home side fell just short, defeated 3-2.
 
Speaking of what they needed to do heading into the bronze medal match Hockeyroo, Savannah Fitzpatrick said "we need to have a better start than in the round games. We were slow to start in the first quarter, we need to start harder and score earlier."
 
The conclusion of the international Festival of Hockey sees the Kookaburras head to India for the World League Final whilst the Hockeyroos jet to Adelaide for a test series against Japan. 
 
 
Photo c/o Hockey Australia 
 
  • Annika Lee-Jones