Seven NSWIS graduate athletes have helped the Kookaburras to take out the Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand after winning the third match 4-2 in front of a packed house in Palmerston North.
The team was able to celebrate a number of athlete milestones in the opening two matches with convincing victories in each. Game 1 saw the Institute’s latest graduate to the national squad, Dylan Martin, make a successful senior debut while Lachlan Sharp made his 50th Kookaburras appearance with Australia taking the match 3-1.
In Game 2, the Kookaburras came out 3-0 victors with Blake Govers marking his 100th international appearance with a goal.
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The Kookaburras made a fast start to Game 3, going 2-0 up inside eight minutes. Blacksticks drag-flick specialist Kane Russell pegged a goal back for the hosts in the 20th minute but the Kookaburras had to wait less than 60 seconds to restore their two-goal lead when Sharp won a penalty stroke that Govers duly converted.
The Blacksticks were afforded some respite when Sharp received a yellow card and 5 minute sit down for foiling a counter-attack and the Kookaburras were then reduced to nine players when Tom Wickham also saw yellow. Oliver MacIntyre took advantage as he again struck from a penalty corner to leave the contest delicately poised 3-2 at half time.
Six minutes into the third quarter young Victorian Nathan Ephraums scored his second Kookaburras goal and his second of the series with a classy behind-the-back deflection after Jeremy Hayward drilled a ball in after a penalty corner injection, with neither side able to add anything further to the scoreline.
The fourth and final game of the series is on Tuesday, with the Kookaburras looking for a clean sweep of the four-game series.
View the full match details on the Hockey Australia website.
Photo: Hockey Australia