Kookaburras Fall Behind After Opening Games of Netherlands Test Series

Hockey (Men) | Published: Thu 1 February 2018

The Kookaburras have commenced their four-match test series against the Netherlands with an opening draw and a one goal loss at Narrogin Hockey Stadium last weekend, WAIS athletes Matt Bird, Tristan Clemons and Aran Zalewski all providing a valuable contribution to their team's efforts.

Game one took place on Saturday afternoon with a nail biting finish as Australia scored in the last minute to level the scores 3-3.

The game was back and fourth right from the beginning as the Dutch opened the scoring only to have the Australians respond four minutes later with a goal of their own.
The next flurry of goals came late in the second, Australia adding to their goal tally in the 28th minute.
This was quickly followed up by efficient work from the Dutch side, who scored two goals within the final minute of the first half. 
Australia's last minute goal meant that both sides sat even in the series standings as the final whistle blew out.
Saturday's game was one to remember for Western Australian Matt Bird as he made his Kookaburras debut.
Speaking after the game, Bird admitted "I was pretty nervy at the start. But I worked my way into the game and settled, it was great."
"I didn't go too bad to be fair. I've got some areas to improve but I'll work on that over this series." 
He continued on to say "we went down 3-2 so to get it level we were pretty happy with that."
Heading into game two on Sunday the Kookaburras were looking for a win against the world number four Dutch side in order to take the series lead.
Unfortunately they did not achieve the results they were hoping for ending the game at a one goal deficit, 2-3.
Western Australian, Trent Mitton opened the scoring for the game, finding the net half way through the first quarter. 
The side from the Netherlands were the next to add to the scoreboard, adding two goals of their own before the main break.
Carrying the momentum into the second half, the visitors came out firing scoring for a third time just 60 seconds into the second half.
Australia hit back late in the third quarter to bring the score back to within one goal.
The Dutch had a number of opportunities in the final quarter, however thanks to the handy work of Western Australia goal keeper, Tristan Clemons they were kept at bay.
Unfortunately the Australians were unable to repeat their final quarter efforts from the day before, resulting in defeat.  
Australia's Tristan White said "they've got threats all over the park, as do we. They're really polished everywhere." 
"We need to do our homework on the lesser known players. We work on the big guys like (Billy) Bakker and Mirco (Pruyser). We need to eliminate all the threats as well."
With Australia looking to get back into contention for the series win both sides have now arrived in Perth, where the final two games of the test series will be played at Perth Hockey Stadium.
The Kookaburras will take on the Netherlands in game three tonight at 7pm (AWST).
  • Annika Lee-Jones