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Kookaburras hit Pakistan speed bump in final test of series

Pakistan 4 Kookaburras 3 (2-1 half time)
Goals – Aus Simon Orchard 15m FG, Pak Sohail Abbas 23m PC, Pak Muhammad Tousiq 27m PC/ 58m FG, Aus Chris Ciriello 45m PC/ 69m PC, Pak Shakeel Abbasi 66m PS

The Kookaburras have faltered in their final match of the 3 Nations tournament involving Pakistan and India, going down to Pakistan 4-3 overnight in Perth.

With Australia going into the match undefeated throughout the series, Pakistan took it up to the Kookaburras, confirming that they are a difficult team and capable of defeating higher ranked teams on any given day.

Although it was the Kookaburras who made the best start thanks to a field goal to Simon Orchard at the 15 minute mark, Pakistan took the first half honours, scoring two consecutive goals late in the half to take a one goal lead into half time.

After an even 10 minutes after half time the Kookaburras responded, with penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello levelling the game via a penalty corner goal to make it 2-2. 

However once again it was Pakistan who again took it up to the world number one team, scoring two more goals late in the half to take a commanding lead.

A late goal to Chris Ciriello brought some respectability to the score board but it was too late to get the Kookaburras back in the game.

In the earlier game, Australia A defeated India 2-1.

Despite the loss the Kookaburras will take a lot out of the series as they now focus their attention towards the 2011 Champions Trophy which will be held in Auckland, New Zealand from December 3-11. 

As well as playing some good hockey over the last month which has seen them win the Oceania Cup and Lanco International Super Series, perhaps more importantly they have got some game time into previously injured players including Des Abbott, Jamie Dwyer, Tim Deavin and Mark Knowles. 

The Kookaburras are the most successful team in Champions Trophy history and if they win in 2011, they will become the first team in history to win the Champions Trophy four times in a row. 

Furthermore as the tournament will be the last major international hockey event prior to the 2012 London Olympics, it will give coach Ric Charlesworth a chance to assess where the Kookaburras are currently placed against the other top nations.

The Kookaburras will select their Champions Trophy squad on Friday 11th November. They will then select their Olympic training squad after the Champions Trophy on Friday 16th October.

Source: Hockey Australia.

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