Kookaburras come back to defeat France at World League
12 July 2017
HOCKEY: The Kookaburras kicked off their World League Semi-Finals campaign against France tonight, coming back from being 2 – nil down to win the match 3 – 2.
Australia were up for a penalty corner minutes into the game after being awarded the chance following a cross on Jake Whetton as he headed towards goal. France’s defence were ready for the corner and after the shot was blocked they quickly moved the ball out of the Australian circle.
France had the next two opportunities at penalty corners, and on their second attempt Victor Charlet smashed the ball into the back right of the net. Only a minute later and the French side scored again with a mad dash away from the Aussies resulting in Pieter van Straaten flicking the ball with power from the top of the D straight into the net.
Australia got onto the score board in the 18th minute of play following a tomahawk into the circle from captain Mark Knowles that landed with Jake Whetton directly in front of the net, before Whetton gave it a quick backhand into goal.
With under ten minutes to go in the final quarter of the game Josh Pollard levelled the score for Australia, slamming the ball into the right-hand corner of the net from the far left of the circle.
Australia well and truly took command of the game when Mark Knowles scored from a penalty stroke, giving the Kookaburras the lead for the first time in the game with a score line of 3 – 2.
With only a second to go in the game France had the chance to get the score back to deadlock, but a missed trap on a penalty corner cost them the opportunity and the Kookaburras came away with the win.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “It was a very tough game, there are no easy games. We thought we prepared well for the game against France. We were a bit slow to start, they took advantage of us having too many players forward and they were very good on the defensive.
“It’s all a learning curve for us, we’re an emerging side who have had many changes since Rio, and it was good to be able to come back from two nil down.”
The Kookaburras next play Spain on Thursday, 13 July at 10pm AWST / 12am AEST (Friday, 14 July). Tune into the game live on Fox Sports Australia.
Kookaburras Match Schedule
Thursday, 13 July: AUS v ESP 10pm AWST / 12am AEST (Friday 14 July)
Saturday, 15 July: AUS v NZL 8pm AWST / 10pm AEST
Monday, 17 July: AUS v JPN 6pm AWST / 8pm AEST
Wednesday, 19 July: Quarter Finals TBC
Kookaburras squad v France
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 34/13
Matt Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 72/10
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 79/26
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 296/26
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 85/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 112/49
Matt Swann (Mackay, QLD) 152/6
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 124/49
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA 12/2
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD 36/8
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 107/15
Kiran Arunasalam (Doncaster East, VIC) 5/1
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 97/16
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 128/0
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS) 18/1
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC) 19/6
Josh Pollard (Melbourne, VIC) 19/2
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 86/6