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Kookaburras winning run ends against world number ones

Published Mon 26 Feb 2024

The Kookaburras have got off to a dream start in 2024, kickstarting their run into July’s Paris Olympics with a near perfect opening tour in India.
Beating their FIH Pro League opponents in seven matches out of eight, it took the top ranked Netherlands until the final match to finally beat Australia, 5-3.
Prior to the tour, Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said, “it’s not just about scoring well in India, it’s about preparing well on tour and acting just as we expect to in Paris in July.”
Now, the Kookaburras and their huge support team are celebrating a near perfect run in India, with improved cohesive performances, gritty come-from-behind wins and plenty of team, and individual, moments which showed why they are one of the best teams in the world.

"If we think back two weeks ago when we started, there's been so much learning, so much growth and it's been heaps of fun," Aran Zalewski said post-match.

"It's been a good trip, there's been a lot to like about the hockey we've played I think and unfortunately tonight we didn't get to finish on a good note but I'm sure we can learn from that as well."

Tonight, the Kookaburras ran out to face table toppers the Netherlands to battle it out for top spot on the standings, less than 24 hours after beating hosts India in a thrilling penalty shootout encounter.
Early on, Australia was playing like they were the number one team, with plenty of shots on target and within six minutes they were on the board through a clean, powerful field goal by Jacob Anderson.
The Kookaburras carried that momentum and appeared to be in control until they were a man down and Duco Telgenskamp unleashed, scoring a double before half time.
Down 2-1 heading into the third quarter the Kookaburras had a chance to level, but the Dutch quickly bagged two more and suddenly Australia were down 4-1.
Despite having lost all of the momentum, it was not over, the Kookaburras had pulled off many comebacks in earlier games and right when they needed to most, Tim Brand answered back with another incredible goal, set up by Tom Craig.
The Netherlands quickly made it 5-2 until Jeremy Hayward, who has had a tournament to remember, once again found the back of the net and it seemed Australia might have a fighting chance.
But it was all a little too late as the Kookaburras were forced to chalk their first loss before they pack their bags and head back home to Perth.

"I think tonight we didn't get to play the brand of hockey that we've been playing over the last 7 matches, we gave the Dutch too many opportunities... allowing five goals is probably going to make it difficult in any game of hockey," the skipper said.

"We came over here wanting to play an Australian style of hockey and we were able to do that for a lot of this campaign which is exciting for us... we'll go home re-energise and go again"

FIH Pro League action continues in May with massive matches in Belgium, and the UK, for both the Kookaburras, and the Hockeyroos. You can see the full schedule here.

All matches will be streamed live and free on 7Plus.

Match Details
Netherlands: 5 (Duco Telgenskamp 13’ & 20’, Jip Janssen 35’, Tjep Hoedemakers 42’, Terrance Pieters 48’)
Kookaburras: 3 (Jacob Anderson 6’, Tim Brand 46’, Jeremy Hayward 55’)
In Rourkela, India
Kookaburras:  1. Lachlan Sharp, 2. Tom Craig, 4. Jake Harvie, 10. Joshua Beltz, 12. Jake Whetton,16. Tim Howard, 17. Aran Zalewski (c), 20. Ky Willott, 29. Tim Brand, 30. Andrew Charter, 32. Jeremy Hayward, 3. Corey Weyer, 5. Tom Wickham, 6. Matt Dawson, 8. Johan Durst (gk), 9. Jacob Anderson, 21. Jack Welch, 22. Flynn Ogilvie