Australia gets First Taste of FIH Pro League

Hockey | Published: Mon 4 February 2019

The FIH Pro League has treated hockey fans to an exceptional weekend of action in Melbourne with the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras both involved in weekend doubleheaders.

 

The Hockeyroos split their two matches, defeating world number one the Netherlands by a single goal before succumbing to Belgium 2-1.

 

The Kookaburras dropped both matches, losing to the Netherlands in a penalty-shootout on Saturday before being out-gunned 4-1 by the Belgians on Sunday.

 

Hockeyroos v the Netherlands

Australia 1 (Claxton 21’)

Netherlands 0

 

The Hockeyroos have ended almost a decade of Dutch dominance with a ground-breaking 1-0 win over world champions Netherlands in their FIH Pro League opener in front of a sold-out crowd in Melbourne.

Australia secured the upset over the world number one Netherlands, thanks to a number of defensive stops from local gun Rachael Lynch and a fantastic field goal in the 21st minute from Jane Claxton.

The victory was Australia’s first over the Dutch since July 2009 at the Champions Trophy. It was also the Hockeyroos’ first over the Netherlands in 19 attempts.

Hockeyroos Paul Gaudoin said: "It’s pleasing. It’s good for the girls. We didn’t play that well but we found a way. Hopefully it’ll instil some belief.”

 

Jake Harvie attacks the goal in the Kookaburras' clash with the Netherlands 
  

Kookaburras v the Netherlands

Australia 5 (Craig 3', Brand 13', Ockenden 17', Mitton 23', Sharp 35')

Netherlands 5 (Pruijser 4', Hertzberger 29', de Geus 47', Bakker 51', Kellerman 56')

 

The Kookaburras blew a three goal lead to lose 4-1 in a shootout after a thrilling 5-5 draw against the World Number Three Netherlands on Saturday in Melbourne.

Entering the fourth quarter the Kookaburras found themselves with a comfortable 5-2 lead thanks to goals from Tom Craig, Tim Brand, Eddie Ockenden, Trent Mitton and Lachlan Sharp.

Unfortunately for the Australians, a late collapse saw the Netherlands score three goals in quick succession, forcing the shootout.

The Dutch goalkeeper Sam van der Ven allowed just one goal to Jeremy Hayward after forcing errors from Blake Govers and Craig. Jeroen Hertzberger, Glenn Schuurman, Jonas de Geus and Netherlands captain Billy Bakker were all able to convert their shootout opportunities.

Though the Kookaburras were efficient in front of goals during regular time, they were unable to find the back of the net consistently when it mattered most.

"We didn't handle the Dutch pressure. They turned us over way too many times, we had trouble coming out of defence and transferring the ball and that was a quality we had in the first and second quarter," said Kookaburras coach Colin Batch.

 

   

Hockeyroos v Belgium

 

Australia 1 (Peris 57’)

Belgium 2 (Struijk 35’, Versavel 47’)

 

The Hockeyroos have fallen just short of Belgium in a nail-biting 2-1 clash in Melbourne on Sunday evening.

It was a tightly contested affair early but Belgium broke out to a two goal lead late in the fourth thanks to scores from Michelle Struijk and Louise Versavel in the 35th and 47th minutes respectively.

Brooke Peris did her best to bring Australia back from the brink in the dying minutes of the game, backing her way into the attacking circle and nailing a powerful field goal in the 57th minute of the match.

Australia now sits fourth on the FIH Pro League ladder having recorded one win and one loss.

The Hockeyroos head to Tasmania next week to take on Germany and China who sit seventh and eighth on the ladder respectively.

"It’s disappointing, we didn’t come out with the vigour that we were hoping for after what we did against Holland.” Said Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin.

 

   

Kookaburras v Belgium

Australia 1 (Beale 1’)

Belgium 4 (Dockier 15’, 35’, Hendrickx 28’, Cosyns 40’)

 

The Kookaburras have fallen 4-1 to world number one Belgium in front of a noisy Melbourne crowd in the FIH Pro League on Sunday afternoon.

Australia’s lone goal scorer Daniel Beale attacked well early in the match creating multiple chances, but an onslaught of Belgium goals from Sebastien Dockier, Alexander Hendrickx and Tanguy Cosyns proved too much for the Kookaburras.

A tight first quarter saw the scoreboard read 1-1 at the siren thanks to a first minute goal from Beale and a 15th minute goal to Dockier, but the Australian’s were unable to convert again throughout the match.

Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward had several chances to score after Australia drew a number of penalty corners late in the game, but missed traps and some fantastic goal keeping from Vincent Vanasch meant that the pair of Kookaburras couldn’t find the backboard.

Belgium’s Dockier was named with the Player of the Match.

The Kookaburras remain without a win in the FIH Pro League but have an opportunity to redeem themselves against Germany in Tasmania next Sunday.

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: "Tough game. We hit a nice goal to start the game but Belgium took control of the game with their passing qualities.

 

- HockeyAustralia