The Kookaburras kept their perfect record in Tokyo after beating their Kiwi rivals, the Black Sticks 4-2 at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Both teams have solely relied on each other to prepare for the Olympics due to border closures, with the Australian team notching a 7th win in as many games against the New Zealand outfit.
NSWIS graduate athlete Matt Dawson made his 150th appearance for Kookaburras in a match where the Kookaburras secured their best Olympic Pool round results since the 1988 Seoul Olympics winning four from four.
The world number one ranked Kookaburras took control early in their match against the Black Sticks with NSWIS graduates Blake Govers and Tim Brand combining for the latter to convert a well-executed flick in the 9th minute.
The Kiwis didn’t let the early goal unsettle them and stuck to their disciplined game plan. This paid dividends in the 13th minute when, Black Sticks drag flick specialist Kane Russell stunned goalkeeper Andrew Charter with his speed and finesse to equalise off a penalty corner and leave the scores tied 1-1 at quarter time.
The scores remained unchanged with nothing separating the two teams in the second quarter. Even the possession statistics were shared 50/50. The third quarter wasn’t too different with the Australian team unable to convert from three penalty corners.
Eventually the breakthrough came with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Brand grabbed his second goal before teaming up with Govers to give the Kookaburras a two-goal lead.
Two penalty corners in the final three minutes saw Tom Wickham team up with Govers to add a fourth, while Black Sticks Russell slammed in another drag flick for the Black Sticks to make it a nervy final two minutes.
The Kookaburras are back in action on Saturday when they take on Spain in their final Pool A match.