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Australia secures clean sweep of series over Great Britain
25 Feb 2008 07:18

An early goal against the run of play has secured a clean sweep of the five test series for the Hockeyroos against Great Britain.

Although the Hockeyroos already claimed the first four matches of the series in convincing fashion, they were met with a determined Great Britain outfit during the last match.

With nothing but pride on the line, Great Britain took it up to the Hockeyroos in the first half which resulted in several shots on goal.

However thanks to the work of tireless defenders Angie Lambert and Rebecca Sanders, who along with Madonna Blyth was celebrating her 100th international, Great Britain couldn't take advantage of their first half momentum.

However Great Britain's constant pressure up the pitch meant the Hockeyroos struggled to penetrate the circle, much to the frustration of the Hockeyroos forwards and coach Frank Murray.

The class of the Hockeyroos eventually presented itself however after an impressive steal from Megan Rivers lead to the first and only score of the match at the 25 minute mark.

The second half remained an arm wrestle, with the Hockeyroos unable to break through despite several near goals. With the teams exchanging penalty corner attempts in the late stages of the game another score looked likely.

However a last minute attempt from Great Britain was once again denied, allowing the Hockeyroos to walk away convincing winners of the series.

Although the Hockeyroos didn't lose a game during the series, coach Frank Murray said his players still needed to work on a few areas of their game prior to the Beijing Olympics.

'I thought today's match was fairly even, a tough hard match. However I believe the players need to find another level of toughness if we are to continue to win these games on a regular basis,' said Murray.

Overall, the series provided the Hockeyroos with a valuable experience against a side who are considered genuine medal contenders at the Beijing Olympics, leaving the team full of confidence for their preparation in the coming months.

Despite the fourth match being a dead rubber, with the Hockeyroos having already claimed the series after winning the first three matches in Perth and Brisbane, the competition was still fierce with both teams looking to gain a mental edge with the Beijing Olympics around the corner.

Although Great Britain produced perhaps their best match of the series to date, the Hockeyroos flexed their muscles when challenged with their execution around goal once again the differing factor in the match.

The Hockeyroos wasted no time setting the pace, with home crowd favourite Angie Lambert registering the first score at the eight minute mark from a penalty corner after some poor goal keeping from the Great Britain keeper.

The home team continued to control the majority of the first half and found themselves even further ahead after Madonna Blyth scored an impressive goal thanks to some good lead up work from Melanie Wells.

When Suzie Faulkner scored the Hockeyroos third goal with only minutes to go before half time the match appeared well in control of the Australians.

However after impressive 10 minute period from Great Britain during the dying minutes of the first half and the opening minutes of the second, they found themselves well and truly back in the game and only one goal down after goals to Helen Richardson and Kate Walsh.

With the game hanging in the balance, the Hockeyroos steadied via a Sarah Young field goal only to be followed by yet another Angie Lambert penalty corner conversion to once again secure a comfortable lead with the score line remaining 5-2 at the final siren.

Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray said that although he was happy to come away with a victory there is always room for improvement.

'It was great to win another match but there was some discipline areas of our game that we need to fix so we will be working on that. There were a few players who need to sharpen up if they want to claim their spot in the Olympic squad,' said Murray.

Hockeyroos veteran Angie Lambert said it was great to play in front of her Queensland home crowd, with the hot conditions providing a perfect warm up for the heat expected at the Beijing Olympics.

'The conditions today were a bit tough but we welcome that because that is what we will be up against in Beijing,' said Lambert.

Lambert echoed the belief that there was still room for improvement from the Hockeyroos squad.

'To beat Great Britain 5-2 and to win the first four games of the series is a fantastic result and something that we cant take for granted but we still have some work to do. There may have been some times during today's match where they play looked a bit slow and it was a bit patchy at times, but at the same time there was also some good pieces of play where we were able to produce some good hockey,' said Lambert.

Fourth match:
Australia – Great Britain 5-2 (3-1)
AUS Lambert 8m PC/ 54m PC, Blyth 26m FG, Faulkner 32m FG, Young 49m FG
GB Richardson 35m PC, Walsh 39m PC

Fifth match:
Australia – Great Britain 1-0 (1-0)
Rivers 25m FG

Source: Hockey Australia

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