Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kookaburras look Olympic favouritesafter winning test series vs Germany

Australia 2
Chris Ciriello 13 (PC)
Kieran Govers 56 (PC)
Germany 1
Fuchs 60 (F)

The Kookaburras have ended their European tour on a positive note securing a 2-0 series win against Germany in Mannheim, downing the homeside 2-1.

The Australians defeated the world number two in testing conditions, backing up a 3-0 win in the first test match on Tuesday.

Jamie Dwyer, Luke Doerner and Matt Gohdes were rested for the second test with Chris Ciriello, Glenn Simpson and Russell Ford returning to the fold.

Likewise, Germany made changes with Moritz Furste, Phillip Zeller and Matthias Witthaus not playing.

The Kookaburras showed their positive intent, by forcing an early penalty corner through Russell Ford, who was playing in his 100th test match. The drag flick by Kieran Govers was saved and a follow up play could not quite force the first goal.

As the first half progressed, the Kookaburras started to dominate possession but were also solid in defence and did not allow Germany any clear opportunities on goal.

The Kookaburras did not have to wait long to take a well deserved lead, as Eddie Ockenden forced a second penalty corner on 13 minutes with Chris Ciriello converting a drag flick into the top left corner, past German goalkeeper, Weinhold.

The Australians intensity lifted and although they went into half time with a slender 1-0 lead, it could quite easily have been more as a Des Abbott shot was saved just before the break.

As expected, Germany came out firing in the second and exerted early pressure but the Australian defensive group were resilient and repelled two German penalty corners at the 42 and 43 minute mark.

Gradually the Kookaburras found more momentum and Ford forced another corner in the 56th minute. This time it was Kieran Govers who converted with a low drag flick to make it 2-0 in his 50th Test.

Florian Fuchs stole a goal back with 10 minutes to go after the ball could not be cleared cleanly but it was too little too late for the home team as the Kookaburras comfortably held on for the win.

Coach Ric Charlesworth said on a cool evening and in difficult playing and umpiring conditions, the team played with real intensity.

“Our corner conversion improved over these two matches here in Mannheim, we have produced two very solid defensive displays,” he said. “I am proud of the intensity and everyone contributed to this series win.”

The Kookaburras depart Germany tonight to return to Australia and have a well earned rest next week, before preparing for the upcoming series against Korea in June.

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