Hockeyroos lose their first game on the Perth ‘Smurfturf’

[img_assist|nid=3391|title=Blue day|desc=Australia’s Casey Eastham (centre) and Kobie McGurk in action vs Korea|link=node|align=left|width=250|height=176]Australia 2
(Emily Smith 12m FG, Casey Eastham 46m PC)
Korea 4
(Kim Jong Eun 6m/55m FG/FG, Kim Jong Hee 40m FG, Cheon Eun Bi 52m FG).

The Hockeyroos first hit-out on the Olympic-replica blue hockey pitch in Perth didn’t go to plan as ther recorded a 4-2 loss to Korea.Australia began the match brightly with two excellent opportunities in the opening minutes through Megan Rivers and Hope Munro. The Koreans fought back quickly opening up the scoring with a great field goal in the fifth minute through Kim Jong Eun. The 38 degree weather did not hinder the players endeavour and determination at the ball. The match was played at a frenetic pace which suited Korea early who managed to control the ball better in the first 10 minutes.

The Hockeyroos settled quickly after the Korean goal and pressured the Korean defenders on a number of occasions. The relentless pressure forced an equalizer through Emily Smith in the 12th minute. The Hockeyroos continued to press hard in the back-end of the first half forcing the Korean goal-keeper to make some excellent saves. An even first half saw the half time score, 1-1.

The second half mirrored the beginning of the first half with Korea scoring a second goal in the opening minutes. The resultant goal seemed to motivate the Hockeyroos who pulled together an outstanding 6 minute burst, securing 3 Penalty Corners (PC). The first PC smashed the cross-bar from a fierce drag flick from Anna Flanagan. It was the third PC that secured the Hockeyroos the equalizer through Casey Eastham in the 46th minute.

The Koreans gained the ascendancy in the 52nd minute through a great field goal to Cheon Eun Bi. It was only three minutes later when the Koreans scored their fourth goal for the match through their opening goal scorer Kim Jong Eun. The 4-2 lead and severe weather conditions were enough to halt any late surge from the Hockeyroos.
Hockeyroos Head coach Adam Commens said “it was a solid performance for 50 minutes and there were periods during the game where we were great”. “If you’re not at 100% against teams like Korea, they find a way to hurt you”.

In an earlier match, Australia A defeated Korean club team, Korea Telecom, 4-1 in  blistering heat. Australia A opened the scoring through Brooke Peris in the final minute of the first half. Peris continued her good form, setting up a goal for Hockeyroos National Squad member Emily Hurtz in the first 30 seconds of the second half. A frantic last 10 minutes saw Korea score a goal to make the score line 2-1, but quickly became 4-1 in favour of Australia A after 2 late goals.

Game two against Korea is also at Shenton Park, Lemnos Field, March 7, 2012. Australia A play the curtain raiser against Korea Club Team, Korea Telecom at 3pm at the same venue.