Aussie men defeat Japan in fourth World Series Game
18 July 2017
HOCKEY: The Kookaburras played Japan last night in their final pool game of the World League Semi-Finals, winning their fourth match 7 – 2.
Twelve seconds into the game and the Kookaburras were in the lead, a tackle on Trent Mitton allowing captain Mark Knowles the opportunity to flick the ball into the net for a penalty stroke goal.
Australia had a good two chances at penalty corners only a minute later but this time goalkeeper Suguru Shimmoto was on point and the net was well defended. Jake Whetton turned it around for Australia by scoring a field goal five minutes in with a reverse flick from directly in front of the net eluding Shimmoto.
Kenta Tanaka had Japan’s first real shot on goal in the final minute of the first quarter however the ball went slightly wide and Australian keeper Andrew Charter was well placed to cover the net.
In the 26th minute of play Tom Wickham passed to Jake Whetton who worked the ball along the goal line before easily flicking it into the left of the net. Two minutes later and Whetton made a pass to Dylan Wotherspoon from the middle of the pitch, before Wotherspoon sprinted the ball down to the Australian circle shooting the ball past Shimmoto and increasing Australia’s lead to 4 – nil.
Aran Zalewski was the first to score coming back from the half time break; flicking the ball from the top of the circle before it hit the left-hand post of goal and deflected into the net. Six minutes later and Tom Wickham was the next Australian to score, knocking a field goal into the net easily and giving Australia a 6 – 0 lead.
Japan were up for their first penalty corner opportunity 42 minutes into the game, with Shota Yamada scoring a penalty corner goal after it deflected into goal from goalkeeper Tyler Lovell’s helmet.
With ten minutes to go in the game Japan were up for a second shot at a penalty corner goal. A set piece play resulted in a powerful drag flick from Hirotaka Zendana nailing the goal and taking the score to AUS 6 – 2 JPN.
Jeremy Hayward scored Australia’s first penalty corner goal of the game with three minutes to go in the match courtesy of a powerful drag flick from the top of the D. The resulting goal leaving the final score at AUS 7 – 2 JPN.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “We started very well, put pressure on Japan and scored two goals early on which set the tone for the game which was a really good start for us.
“Japan came through and scored a couple of goals towards the end of the match so we need to tighten up a little bit, but overall it was a pretty good game. It looks like we’ll play Egypt in the quarter final but it will depend on the outcome of South Africa’s game against Belgium tonight.”
The Kookaburras next play in the quarter finals on Wednesday 19 July. Details on the time and team they will play will be determined at the conclusion of the pool rounds this evening. Tune into the game Live on Fox Sports Australia.
Kookaburras Match Schedule
Wednesday, 19 July: Quarter Finals TBC
Kookaburras squad v Japan
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 100/16
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 131/0
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 37/13
Matt Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 75/10
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS) 21/2
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC) 22/6
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 115/50
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 127/51
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 89/6
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA 15/3
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 110/16
Kiran Arunasalam (Doncaster East, VIC) 8/1
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 82/27
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 299/27
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 88/0
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD 39/10
Matt Swann (Mackay, QLD) 154/6
Josh Pollard (Melbourne, VIC) 21/3