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Abbott hat-trick secures series

9 February 2009

The Kookaburras have continued their winning ways under new coach Ric Charlesworth, handing the legendary coach his second series victory in as many attempts after defeating Belgium 10-0 Sunday 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. Striker Des Abbott soon joined in and added to his hat-trick of three goals from Saturday nights 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 2009 Men’s Champions Trophy which will be held in Melbourne from November 28-December 6. 

Hockey Australia

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