Australia has continued its winning ways under new coach Ric Charlesworth, handing the legendary coach his second series victory in as many attempts after defeating Belgium tonight in the final match of their three test series.
The success against Belgium comes only two weeks after the Kookaburras defeated the Netherlands in a four test series in what was Charlesworth’s first series as coach of the Kookaburras.
Creating further reason for the Kookaburras to celebrate was the fact that it was Liam De Young’s 200th match, with the acting captain the youngest ever Kookaburra to reach the 200 game milestone.
After demolishing Belgium 7-1 during game two of the series, the Kookaburras were out to prove it was no fluke, and started the match at a lightening pace.
A goal to Victorian striker Russell Ford in the opening minutes got the Kookaburras off to a good start, but he was quickly joined on the scorers’ sheet by fellow Victorian Glenn Simpson, his first goal for the Kookaburras.
Before Belgium knew what hit them the Kookaburras were at it again, with youngsters Simon Orchard and Eddie Ockenden combining to perfection.
After receiving a pass from Orchard, Ockenden avoided the selfish option of shooting himself, instead passing it back to Orchard who kept running towards goal to convert Australia’s third goal within ten minutes.
Striker Des Abbott soon joined in and added to his hat-trick of three goals from last night’s match, guiding the ball to the back of the goal before the keeper even had a chance to react.
Much to Belgium’s relief the game soon settled, however the damage had already been done.
An injury to the Belgium goalkeeper mid way through the half held up play for several minutes, however the Kookaburras appeared unaffected once play resumed.
Although two shots on goal from Grant Schubert were not converted, the Kookaburras were still well in control.
When Luke Doerner converted the Kookaburras fifth goal via a penalty corner, the match was all but over just prior to the half time break.
That fact was further reinforced early in the second half, with Doerner again causing headaches from penalty corner attempts to further extend the Kookaburras lead.
Belgium continued on and produced some genuine scoring attempts early in the second half. However young goalkeeper George Bazeley was up to the task, producing several great saves.
After several impressive minutes to the Belgium side a goal seemed likely, but the Kookaburras produced a ruthless side which would have pleased Ric Charlesworth as they showed no mercy.
After youngster Glenn Simpson scored his second goal of the match Des Abbott again proved why he is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, producing a powerful shot which left the Belgium goalkeeper with no chance.
Only minutes later Abbott again added to his growing reputation, scoring his third goal of the match to record his second hat-trick in two games in a row.
Matthew Butturini scored his first ever goal for the Kookaburras with five minutes remaining, finishing off the game on a positive note.
The win was even more satisfying considering key players Jamie Dwyer, Mark Knowles and Rob Hammond were missing from the squad. Overall seven players have debuted for the Kookaburras during the last two series’, creating an exciting build up to the 2022 Men’s Champions Trophy which will be held in Melbourne from November 28-December 6.
Despite scoring ten goals, Ric Charlesworth said the most pleasing aspect from his point of view was the fact that his team kept Belgium scoreless.
”We have the capacity to score a lot of goals. We aren’t defending as well as we could and that’s an area that needs some attention, but I’m delighted to have zero goals against for my first time in seven matches and that is something that we want to become the rule and not the exception.,” said Charlesworth.
Charlesworth was also full of praise for striker Des Abbott who produced his third hat-trick of goals in two matches.
“He is a very good player but he hasn’t been finishing off as well as we think he could so its pleasing to see him finding the back of the net. He is very dangerous but he is also a very unselfish player,” said Charlesworth.
Australia – Belgium 10-0
Goals – Ford 6m FG, Simpson 8m FG/ 44m FG, Orchard 9m FG, Abbott 11m FG/ 44m FG/ 58m FG, Doerner 34m PC/ 40m PC, Butturini 65m PC
Game 1 Result – Australia – Belgium 4-4
Game 2 Result – Australia – Belgium 7-1
Game 3 Result – Australia – Belgium 10-0
Source: Hockey Australia