World League "begins now" as women reach QF4 December 2013
HOCKEY: Head Coach Adam Commens says “the tournament begins now” after Australia’s women sealed a commanding 5-1 win over rivals New Zealand to set up a crunch quarter-final clash with either Germany or Korea at the World League Finals in Argentina.
Kellie White’s superb individual tomahawk strike into the top corner of the net - her second goal of the game - was the stand-out strike in five for the Hockeyroos for whom Georgie Parker, Ashleigh Nelson and Jodie Schulz were also on target.
The result keeps the Australian women top of their pool and facing a possible quarter-final against European Champions Germany, unless Argentina beat Korea by eight goals or more in the final match of the round. In the event that the Hockeyroos finish second in Pool B, they will face Korea in the quarter-finals.
Commens said afterwards that the outcome was as much down to the defensive qualities of his side as their attacking prowess.
“It was a good performance and one of our better performances on the pitch in a while,” he said. “We were unlucky not to be further ahead at half time but in the second half we were more clinical in their circle. I thought we executed our defensive duties well; New Zealand is one of the better counter-attacking sides in world hockey and we prevented them from exhibiting that threat too often.
Speaking about the Hockeyroos’ approach to their play, Commens added, “We’ve worked hard on how we want to attack and where we want to end up in the circle. We want to create opportunities based on good defence and finishing on the counter.”
Looking ahead to Thursday’s quarter-final, the coach explained that Australia won’t be changing anything in how they approach the match.
“Anything can happen in a one-off match like the quarter-final. We’re not fussed with who we play; we know both teams [Germany and Korea] well. We have a routine in place and our aim is to be consistent in every match. We’ve had three quality performances so far in the tournament and a fourth will put us in a good position to reach the semi-finals.”
South Australian Georgie Parker gave the Hockeyroos the lead in the 11th minute after an opening period in which Australia might already have scored had Kiwi goalkeeper Sally Rutherford not pulled off a double save in the second minute, or been equal to a bobbling penalty corner in the sixth.
Finding the ball deflected to her in open space after good work by Emily Smith inside the left baseline, Parker’s simple conversion from one metre out gave the Hockeyroos a 1-0 lead.
The advantage lasted just two minutes however as Petrea Webster responded almost immediately with critical touch at New Zealand’s first penalty corner to level the score. But Western Australian Ashleigh Nelson restored the Hockeyroos’ lead in the 22nd minute as she reacted quickly to a chest-high deflection from Eddie Bone’s cross to divert the ball down and into the goal.
Kellie White’s thunderous low strike shortly after half time put the Hockeyroos 3-1 up. After taking a moment to control a pass, White turned and fired into the goal. And Queenslander Jodie Schulz made it 4-1 with a pinpoint flick into the corner from a 54th minute penalty corner.
The Hockeyroos threatened more from a brace of penalty corners but New Zealand stood firm until White danced past two Black Sticks defenders before unleashing a superb tomahawk strike that left the goalkeeper with no chance. It was White’s 20th goal for the Hockeyroos.
If the Hockeyroos finish first in the pool their quarter-final against Germany is currently scheduled for 9:00pm local time on Thursday evening (11:00am AEDT / 8:00am AWST Friday). A quarter-final against Korea, were the Hockeyroos to finish second in Pool B, will take place at 11:30am local time on Thursday (01:30am AEDT Friday / 10:30pm AWST Thursday). All times are subject to change by tournament organisers to allow for TV broadcast requirements.