Kookaburras fourth in Champions Trophy
31 July 2006
Olympic Champions the Kookaburras have finished fourth at the Champions Trophy in Spain after going down 5-4 in penalty strokes to the host nation.
The fiery match was sent into strokes after neither side managed to break a 2-2 deadlock after two periods of extra time.
Australia went close when they were awarded a penalty stroke in the first period, but Brett Livermore's attempt hit the right post.
The Kookaburras dominated much of the play, controlling possession but failing to make it count on the scoreboard.
Spain on the other hand, made their opportunities count and stretched an Australian defence that has sorely missed co-captain, Matthew Wells, all tournament, as well as Mark Knowles who has missed the last two games with injury.
Despite the Kookaburras dominance with the majority of the play, the scoreboard could have looked much worse had it not been for some brilliance from Stephen Mowlam, throwing himself around the box and stopping multiple goals.
His efforts earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, as well as Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
With Mowlam stopping the Spain attack, and the Spaniards defence standing strong against the Australian thrusts, the first half was a scoreless battle.
After the break though, Luke Doerner managed to drag flick the Kookaburras into the lead at the 38 minute mark, with a strong conversion.
Shortly after, Spain equalised when Eduard Tubau scored from the top of the circle before Nathan Eglington gave the Kookaburras the lead again in the 50th minute when his strike on goal thundered past the Spanish keeper into the net.
Eight minutes from time, the Kookaburras let Spain back in when Pol Amat managed a goal, sending the game into extra-time.
Both sides had chances during extra-time but with neither side able to score it came down to strokes, with the Kookaburras missing their final attempt the Spaniards kept their composure end slotted their fifth to win the bronze medal.
While they'll be disappointed to have finished fourth, the Kookaburras now turn their attention to the goal they set themselves at the start of the year - the World Cup.
Beginning in Monchengladbach on the 6th of September and running through till the 17th, the Kookaburras will look forward to their first match, against Spain, where they'll be looking to make amends for their losses in Terrassa.