Elder retires on top

5 February 2007

The Kookaburras have come from behind to tie 3-3 with the Netherlands in the fourth and final game of the four-test series, their two wins from the matches in Canberra giving them the series.

While happy to have come away with a tie, after the Netherlands dominated the match, the Kookaburras will celebrate the series win over their arch rival with added enthusiasm after Troy Elder announced his retirement after the match.

Captaining the side for the first time, the Queenslander played a part in the win, helping the Kookaburras come from a two goal deficit after the Dutch scored two goals in three minutes in the first half.

Dominating all over the field, the Dutch pressure resulted in a lack of penetration into the Kookaburras' attacking half, causing the Kookaburras to continually turn the ball over.

In the 31st minute though Australia drew a penalty corner which enabled David Guest to drag flick one past the Dutch keeper for the Kookaburras' first goal.

Going into the break one goal down the Kookaburras came out firing and scored their second goal four minutes into the half when Luke Doerner followed up his unsuccessful drag flick by powering a strike into the net for the equaliser.

At 2-all the crowd came alive, but were soon silenced when the Netherlands again hit the lead, their clinical entry and slick movement in the circle too much for the Australian defence.

The Kookaburras rallied though and less than a minute later had equalised again when Liam DeYoung collected the ball on the baseline and had too much pace and skill for the Dutch defence, sliding one past the keeper in the 59th minute, giving the Kookaburras a hard fought draw.

"We're happy to come away with that result," said national coach, Barry Dancer. "The Dutch played their best game of the series and in the end we just hung on. It was a very good series for us. We achieved as much as we wanted to with the two wins an exposing a number of emerging players to this level."

While the aim of the series for Dancer was to expose a number of the emerging Kookaburras, Troy Elder's retirement was a surprise.

"Troy's retirement was unexpected. He's had a great career and made a significant contribution to the team. We'll certainly miss his experience but we've got a lot of depth in the squad to cover retirements and injuries so someone else now gets an opportunity."

"I wish Troy all the very best now with the next stage of his life."

Elder retires
Troy Elder has announced his retirement from international hockey, going out on a high after the Kookaburras won the four-test series against the Netherlands.

The 30-year-old Queenslander ends his international career on 169 caps and 104 goals and will now concentrate his efforts on winning back-to-back AHL championships with the Queensland Blades.

"I really wanted to finish on a high," said Elder. "After the disappointment of the World Cup in Germany, winning this series and going out while still on top seemed the perfect way to retire, in front of my family and the people I love, the people I couldn't have done it without."

"There's a lot of talent coming through so now it's time to give them an opportunity leading into the Beijing Olympics."

"I couldn't be any prouder of my career. I've had some great times and made some great mates that I've spent a lot of time with. I'm proud of what I've achieved but very proud of what this group of players have achieved, we've taken hockey to another level."

A member of the drought breaking Kookaburras team that won Olympic gold in Athens, Elder will leave a hole in the midfield with the loss of his pace and skill, as well as his penalty corner drag flicking.

Hockey Australia

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