The Kookaburras have made amends for their recent shock draw to Belgium and returned to their winning ways, defeating their European opponents’ 7-1 to take the lead in the best of three test series in Canberra.
With Belgium coming close to defeating the Kookaburras for the first ever time in game one of the series, it was the Kookaburras of old who simply outclassed their opponents much to the pleasure of coach Ric Charlesworth.
After drawing with Belgium in game one courtesy of a second half fad out in which four goals were conceded, the Kookaburras begun tonight’s match with a determined outlook.
With slicker passing through the midfield and a more calculated attacking structure, the Kookaburras controlled the opening stages of the game and quickly established the dominance that everyone expected them to have over their lower ranked opponents.
Kiel Brown, who missed Thursday night’s draw after being rested, demonstrated how valuable he is to the Kookaburras defensive structure, repelling several attacks and setting up his teammates further up the pitch.
Eventually the mounting Australian pressure paid off, with Fergus Kavanagh finding himself one on one with the goalkeeper at the top of the circle to convert at the 7 minute mark.
With momentum on their side the Kookaburras continued to attack with the majority of play taking place close to their goal.
Eventually Belgium settled and began to win their fair share of the ball. In similar circumstances to the first match of the series, the Kookaburras couldn’t seem to shake Belgium with the visitors equalizing in the 27th minute.
Determined not to make the same mistakes as their previous encounter the Kookaburras responded, with prolific goal scorer Des Abbott recording his first goal of the series to once again hand the Kookaburras the lead.
With momentum now back with the Kookaburras they showed no mercy in the last five minutes of the first half, with veteran Grant Schubert showing he still knows how to find the back of the net, scoring twice thanks to some brilliant play further up the field from his teammates.
Having played well in the first half and seemingly addressing their skill errors from game one of the series, the Kookaburras entered the second half eager to ensure their wasn’t another fade out.
Des Abbott soon put everyone’s mind at ease, scoring his second goal of the match thanks to some impressive stick work in the circle to further extend the Kookaburras lead beyond Belgium’s reach.
With the game seemingly over the Kookaburras continued to push but despite some close calls for the Belgium goalkeeper, the Kookaburras seemingly couldn’t further extend their lead.
However with only minutes remaining Fergus Kavanagh and Des Abbott ensured the Kookaburras finished on a positive note, scoring their second and third goals of the match respectively.
Grant Schubert said he was pleased with the win after Thursday night’s shock draw.
“We addressed a few things after Thursday’s draw and it was pleasing to see the guys put those things into practice. We spoke about fitness and I think our passing and skill was much better tonight. It is a relatively new team at the moment with a lot of young players so it is a bit of a learning process for everyone,” said Schubert.
Australia – Belgium 7-1 (4-1)
Goals – Aus Kavanagh 7m FG/ 68m FG, Bel Briels 27m PC, Aus Abbott 29m FG/ 45m FG/ 69m FG, Aus Schubert 33m FG/ 35m FG
Source: Hockey Australia