Australia thrash Black Sticks in Olympic warm-up
Sat, 23 Jun 2012 2:37a.m.
Australia’s status as favourites for a men’s hockey gold medal at the London Olympics was strengthened as they demolished New Zealand 6-1 in the opening game of a three-test series in Cairns.
Despite having an undermanned squad with four Olympic squad members nursing injuries, the No 1-ranked side was too good for a Black Sticks team fielding an optimal line-up.
New Zealand conceded two goals early-on and although Nick Wilson managed to pull one back for the kiwis before the break, Australia’s Russell Ford double straight after the restart put the result beyond doubt.
The result would have been even more embarrassing had goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex not produced a series of frantic saves.
"He'd be disappointed he didn't get a bit more protection," Black Sticks manager Kevin Marr told Fairfax NZ.
"They took their chances extremely well. They made a good start with two goals in 13 minutes," says Marr.
"They opened us by scoring in the first minute after halftime. You get in a catch-up situation when you're 3-1 down and they scored three more in the last 10 minutes. It was well done by them."
It is the second time in three meetings that Australia have put six past the Black Sticks with only one goal in reply.
Fortunately New Zealand does not meet Australia in pool play at the Olympics. The seventh-ranked Black Sticks are in pool B with Germany, the Netherlands, Korea, India and Belgium.
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