NETHERLANDS 2 (1)
Jeroen Herzberger 16,40 (F,F)
KOOKABURRAS 5 (3)
Aran Zalewski 21 (F)
Eddie Ockenden 29 (PC)
Russell Ford 30 (F)
Matthew Swann 49 (F)
Trent Mitton 55 (F)
For the second time in three days the Kookaburras turned around an early deficit against the Netherlands to run out as 5-2 winners in Rotterdam as they prepare for the World League, which gets underway in one week.
Russell Ford’s 50th goal for Australia was one of the notable moments in a match that also featured a rare goal from Matthew Swann and saw captain Eddie Ockenden find the net. But it was 22 year-old Aran Zalewski who got the Aussies back on track after Jeroen Hertzberger’s opening goal for the hosts and Trent Mitton who rounded things off with 15 minutes remaining.
Head Coach Ric Charlesworth pointed again to the early Dutch goal, mirroring Wednesday’s first clash between the two sides. “We had a slow start and we went down again,” he said. “We had a good finish to the first half but the second half was pretty even. We’ll take the result.”
Australia found themselves behind in the 16th minute as Herzberger struck but WA-born Zalewski’s second goal for his country levelled things five minutes later. The goal energised the Kookaburra cause and soon after the visitors were ahead through captain Ockenden’s penalty corner. The Tasmanian’s goal, number 48 of his career, took him to within one of teammate Russell Ford but that changed when Ford converted a minute later for 3-1. Finishing clinically after good work from Matt Gohdes along the baseline it was the Victorian’s milestone 50th senior international goal.
After a commanding end to the first half for the Kookaburras, Jeroen Hertzberger’s second goal five minutes after the break threatened a Dutch fightback but Australia’s two goal cushion was restored from an unlikely source. Queenslander Matthew Swann was the man on hand to make it 4-2, netting just his third international goal in 90 appearances. And the Kookaburras were not done yet. In the 55th minute Rob Hammond’s well struck pass was superbly deflected by Trent Mitton to make it 5-2.
Speaking after the match, Russell Ford said, “It was another tough game. It’s always tough against the Dutch. We had the momentum in parts and were able to get a few goals on the board but there were times they were in control and we had to wrestle the game back. They scored first again so there are definitely things to learn from the game.”
The Kookaburras’ final opponent in their three match warm-up tour is Belgium. The impressive Belgians go into the match off the back of a series whitewash against England with Charlesworth fully aware of the threat they pose.
“Belgium will be a challenge,” said the Kookaburras coach. “They’ve just beaten England 5-2, 4-1 and 5-0; they’re pretty good scores. We play Belgium in our first match at the World League so there will be an added edge to Sunday’s match.”
The Kookaburras’ final warm-up match, against Belgium, takes place at Beerschot Hockey Club on Sunday. The match gets underway at 9:00pm AEST.
Kookaburras Squad v Netherlands, 7 June
(Listed alphabetically by surname)
Name (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals (updated)
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 112/58
Tristan Clemons (GK) (Bunbury, WA) 4/0
Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS) 70/3
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 73/20
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 71/31
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 226/27
Fergus Kavanagh (Geraldton, WA) 163/14
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 41/14
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 180/48
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 121/39
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD) 90/3
Kiel Brown (Perth, WA) 131/3
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 42/0
Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC) 125/50
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 211/16
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 86/14
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 33/10
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 13/2
Did Not Play
Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT) 83/2
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 295/186