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Kookaburras rebound with win

19 July 2007

The Kookaburras have put the two losses to Germany behind them and come out firing in the first of three games against Spain, winning 3-0 in Bilbao overnight.

The win was set up in defence with the Kookaburras blocking Spain's seven penalty corner attempts and 24 circle penetrations, while making the most of their opportunities, scoring off the only penalty corner they received for the day.

While defensively they were strong, the Kookaburras also looked dangerous in attack, rediscovering that slick forward movement that they've become renowned for with Nathan Eglington scoring twice while Travis Brooks, Jamie Dwyer and Andrew Smith also created havoc in attack.

As expected, the Kookaburras came out firing and had three opportunities in the first nine minutes, two of these were well blocked, but the third - a penalty corner to Matt Naylor - found the net after his drag flick was deflected by a Spanish defender and flew past the keeper for Australia's first.

They made it 2-0 in the 27th minute when Mick McCann stole the ball in the midfield, before passing off to Eglington who nailed a low tomahawk goal.

In the 29th minute Spain went had a chance to get one back but Josh Hawes, as he's done a few times on tour, saved the penalty corner attempt and cleared the ball, giving the Kookaburras a two goal lead going into half time.

As expected, the talented Spaniards come out hard in the second half. Creating opportunities on goal and looking very dangerous. However, the resilient Kookaburras' defence stood strong with Stephen Lambert making some crucial penalty corner saves and the resulting counter attacks accentuating Spain's frustration at not being able to break through.

This was made worse for Spain in the 48th minute when Travis Brooks' attempt on goal rebounded to Eglington who made the most of the opportunity and scored his second for the match and the Kookaburras' third for a strong win.

"Tonight was an improved performance," said national coach, Barry Dancer.

"We were able to generate some good goal scoring opportunities with some fast interplay and our penalty corner defence contributed to the result."

The Kookaburras and Spain play their second match on Friday night, in Bilbao, Spain where Matthew Wells will play is 200th game while Liam DeYoung will play his 150th.

Hockey Australia

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