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Australians top Super 9s

21 October 2013

HOCKEY: Australia's men's and women's hockey teams have finished on top after strong wins in the finals of the International Super Series in Perth.

Women take gold

The Hockeyroos swarmed all over Argentina with a committed effort at both ends to claim the gold at the International Super Series. The 3-0 victory came about from an early Australian blitzkrieg before goalkeeper Rachel Lynch would deny Las Leonas time and again, particularly in the second half.

The Hockeyroos claimed their third successive gold at the Hockey 9s event and coach Adam Commens noted the tremendous victory against the quality of the current World Champion Argentines.

“We can see from this performance today that we can match it with Argentina. They’re a really attacking side and very athletic and the bigger ground suits them.

“Today we showed could match it with them athletically and also technically and tactically.”

Commens expected the players to continue to show the selectors that they deserve to be in the team, starting with the test series against Canada before a busy program.

“That will give us an opportunity to play some players that didn’t have the chance to play in the test matches against Argentina and the Super Series and those players will all be vying for selection in the Oceania Cup as well as the World League tournament coming up.”

Captain Madonna Blyth, named Player of the Tournament after the match, proved just as good during the decider and gave the Hockeyroos the early tonic they desired 70 seconds in. Victorian Claire Messent fired only for the shot to rebound off Belen Succi’s pads to the waiting Queenslander Blyth, who scored in the bottom right hand corner.

Argentina played with a lone striker and it nearly came off a couple of times on the counter. Firstly, Lynch gave an early indication she was up for the occasion while four ‘Roos were back in assistance for the ‘keeper the next time.

In the ninth minute, Georgie Parker slotted her fourth of the tournament for a two-nil Australian lead. Parker was one of two unchecked Hockeyroos streaming into the circle and made no mistake with the reverse-stick.

The Australian women piled the heat on the Argentines, battering them with wave after wave of attacking entries. The Hockeyroos monopolised the possession as well as the territory in the second ten minutes of the first half as Las Leonas could only baton down the hatches.

In the second half, Argentina enjoyed their own period of ascendency, rattling off no less than six straight set pieces. Some of the plays required more than one saving effort and two of them were penalties but Las Leonas were left bothered and flustered as Lynch and the defence could not be breached.

Blyth, leading goal scorer at the 2013 Hockey 9s with five, and Casey Eastham were strong on the ball as they endeavoured to wrestle the flow of play back their way. There were more heart-in-mouth moments for the Australian women but the likes of Luciana Aymar, Agustina Albertarrio, Martina Cavallero and Carla Rebecchi found their opponents immovable.

Eastham put the result to bed with two minutes remaining when the Hockeyroos stretched the tired Argentines, to put an exclamation point on the brilliant performance.

Ahead of the Oceania Cup at the end of the month, the Hockeyroos will take on Canada in two official 11-a-side Tests this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday in Perth.

Gold for Australian men

The International Super Series Hockey 9s was designed with the pace and skills of the Kookaburras in mind and they demonstrated just how precisely it was made to measure with a 9-4 win in Sunday’s final against Argentina.

When the sides met in the round robin stages, they battled out a thrilling 4-4 draw, with the Argentines fighting back from 4-1 down.

The Kookaburras were not in a mood to let that happen again but after dominating the opening moments without reward, it took the appearance of Jamie Dwyer off the bench to make an instant impact.

Dwyer somehow curled in the opening goal after five minutes and, as the Australian contemplated his options from a spot on the backline somewhere around the corner-injection line, if the Argentines were thinking “he can never shoot from there,” they were wrong.

After that the chances came thick and fast as the South Americans were pinned in their own half. Four long corners on the trot eventually bore fruit for the Australia, the ball coming wide to Liam De Young whose reverse-stick shot skimmed low into the bottom corner of the goal.

Glenn Turner jabbed in the third but, on a rare attacking foray, a cross from the right was deflected home by Facundo Callioni after 13 minutes to put Argentina back in the game.

The pace became even more frantic as the visitors managed to gain territory but the Kookaburras weathered the storm and struck again when neat approach work from Turner was finished off by Russell Ford.

Argentina came back again a minute before the break when the Australian defence was carved open by Augustin Mazilla to make it 4-2. However, an overtime corner was converted by Ford and the Australians went into half-time 5-2 to the good.

There was no let-up in the second half, Turner adding his second after a solo run and Matias Paredes finding a gap between goalkeeper Tyler Lovell and his near post to keep Argentina in the hunt.

Then the Kookaburras found one more gear, Glenn Simpson, Daniel Beale and Liam de Young all finding the net in spectacular fashion with Guillermo Schickendantz adding Argentina’s final effort.

Dwyer enjoyed the game. “That was probably our best performance of the week, scoring nine goals in front of a really good crowd was great,” he said. “Argentina have a great fighting spirit and we knew they would be a real threat.”

Hockey Australia