FIH Pro League: Australia completes a grand double at home

grand double
FIH Pro League Australia completes a grand double at home

FIH Pro League: Australia completes a grand double at home

The hosts Australia completed a well deserved double. Both Kookaburras and Hockeyroos played their hearts out to beat the visiting Great Britain in men and women sections on the Day 10 of the FIH Pro League on Saturday. While Kookaburras won 2-0, Hockeyroos took the on field supremacy a little more ahead with an impressive 3-0 win.

Looking for consistency, the Kookaburras, sustained first half lead of two goals to beat visiting Great Britain to make full home ground advantage. The goals in the 13th and 23rd minute were enough to see the host through for maximum three points from the game.

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As with their women’s team, it had been an inconsistent start to the FIH Pro League for Australia’s men. In the games prior to today’s contest against Great Britain,  the Kookaburras had   recorded one win, one draw and one loss so far.

Trent Mitton (13th minute) and Jacob Anderson (23rd minute) did the scoring for the home team.

They were stunned by The Netherlands in their opening game – the World Cup runners-up came from 5-2 down to draw the game 5-5 before beating the Kookaburras on a shootout – before they lost 4-1 to world champions Belgium the next day.

However they hit back in style last Sunday, defeating Germany 4-2 to lift themselves to fourth in the table.

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The world number two side was also proving to be deadly from open play, with only Belgium (12) scoring more field goals than their 11, including two it scored today, , but have also conceded the second most goals so far in the FIH Pro League (11).

They were depending upon the  experience of captain Eddie Ockenden – who has amassed 340 international appearances – when they face GB, while 22-year-old Jacob Anderson also showed signs of quality by scoring twice in their win over Germany.

Great Britain’s  return to FIH Pro League action today was not that pleasant as exoected with the second double header in as many weeks as its men and women took on Australia.

The visiting GB men, aiming to maintain unbeaten run, as they already had  two wins from two in the FIH Pro League  thanks to impressive victories over Spain and New Zealand, however, had to swallow its pride.. Sam Ward made history by becoming the first player to score an FIH Pro League hat-trick as his team put hosts New Zealand to the sword with a 6-2 win last weekend.But today was not the day for the Britons.  Even Sam Ward could not do much.

Great Britain was currently the only side yet to have dropped points and was looking to repeat the result the last time the sides met, a 4-3 victory in the final of the 2017 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. 20-year-old Josh Pavis was also expected to make his senior international debut against Australia.

Great Britain women hoping to bounce back after having been defeated by New Zealand in their opening FIH Pro League match appeared hungry to get its first win on the board.

It was a tough opening fixture against the 2018 Commonwealth champions, whose ruthlessness in front of goal saw them come away with a 5-1 victory that didn’t perhaps reflect the full nature of the game. Lizzie Neal made her senior international debut that day and made good of her chance as GB fielded an exciting side full of youth and promise.

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Lily Owsley was hoping to repeat her performance from Rio 2016 as she scored in a 2-1 victory over the Hockeyroos, although the world number three outfit got their revenge with a 2-0 win the last time the two sides met at the 2018 Champions Trophy last November.

Hockeyroos  who were looking to climb the table recorded an impressive 3-0 and three point win over Britons.

Australia’s women started their FIH Pro League campaign in perfect fashion, inflicting a first defeat on The Netherlands since the Rio 2016 final with ‘keeper Rachael Lynch providing plenty of heroics. However they then surprisingly lost 2-1 to Belgium the next day.

Today, it was Kallindi Commerford, who in the 15th minute put the home team ahead with a brilliant opportunist goal. She was followed by Mariah Williams with an equally stunning goal in the 23rd minute while Sevannah Fitzpatrick completed the tally for Hockeyroos with a superb effort. The goal came in the 50th minute.

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An exciting 4-3 win over a stubborn China followed last weekend before they took two points from Germany, beating them on a shootout after the match finished 2-2 in regulation time.

As a result the Hockeyroos were  placed second in the table having accumulated eight points, while they were also proving to be deadly from open play as they have scored twice as many field goals as any other team (6).Today, the local girls took their tally to nine field goals.

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With maximum three points from the game against the visitors, Aussies women are now heading for the top spot.

Captain Emily Chalker – who is also their most experienced player with 216 caps – was just one of a number of high profile players to watch out for in a squad that also boasted an abundance of young talent.

This includes Grace Stewart – her side’s top scorer in the league – as well as Kaitlin Nobbs and Rosie Malone, who have so far achieved 142 international caps between them despite all three being just 21.

The home teams did enough to enthuse the spectators with impressive wins.