Two goals from Queenslander Jake Whetton and a first international strike by Northern Territory youngster Jeremy Hayward paved the way for the Kookaburras’ 6-0 victory over Canada at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Sunday.
Australian national coach Ric Charlesworth said afterwards, “It was another solid performance. We made a lot of chances tonight. While we didn’t finish as many as we might have liked their goalkeepers played well and we hit the post and crossbar four or five times.”
Western Australian Trent Mitton made his 50th appearance for Australia in the match and it was he who set up Glenn Simpson to give the Kookaburras an early lead with a swept shot that deflected into the roof of the net. The goal was the Victorian’s 20th strike for his country in his 101st appearance.
Australia came agonisingly close on several occasions following Simpson’s opener but it took a powerful penalty corner flick high into the far top corner from Hayward to double the Kookaburras’ lead. Having only made his debut on Thursday evening the 21 year old came close to doubling his personal tally moments later but could only watch as his stretched shot cannoned back off the post and away.
The Kookaburras, however, did make it 3-0 before the break as Nick Budgeon, the team’s hat-trick hero from the opening match, strolled into the circle before picking his spot and calmly slotting home.
At times in the second half the Canadian goal lived something of a charmed life with Liam De Young and Jamie Dwyer hitting the post either side of a Dwyer effort that flew off the crossbar.
But Australian pressure finally paid off when Russell Ford made it 4-0 in the 46th minute. Ford was on hand to fire home after Trent Mitton had seen his shot saved and De Young’s effort had rebounded off the frame of the goal and into the path of the Victorian forward.
Jake Whetton soon had the crowd on its feet with an outstanding goal to rival the pinpoint ferocity of Hayward’s earlier effort. Standing less than one metre off the base line Whetton unleashed a tomahawk that flew inside the far post to put the Kookaburras 5-0 up. The strike was his 20th for Australia and he followed up with his 21st goal ten minutes later, reacting quickest to a rebound from the Canadian goalkeeper after good work by Glenn Simpson.
One note of concern for the Kookaburras came after Matt Gohdes was hit on the foot. The Rockhampton-born midfielder was kept on the sidelines in the second half and will now be assessed by team medical staff.
Having experienced the rarity of a full two days’ break between tournament matches, Charlesworth added, “We trained hard [during the off days]. We’ve got to work on our fitness so we’re working hard on pushing ourselves throughout the tournament.”
The result maintains the Kookaburras’ 100% record and keeps them top of the standings after two matches.
Australia’s men play South Africa on Monday at 7:00pm AEDT / 4pm AWST. The match is live on Eurosport Australia.
Kookaburras squad for Sultan Azlan Shah
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 56/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 126/69
Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD) 298/34
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 82/22
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 241/28
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 2/1
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 226/18
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 50/15
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 201/51
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 48/21
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 23/1
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 22/5
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 16/7
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 310/201
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 145/71
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 16/0
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 11/1
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 101/20
Standings (correct at time of publication – updated here)
1. Australia (6 points, 2 matches)
2. Korea (3 points, 1 match)
3. Malaysia (3 points, 1 match)
4. China (3 points, 2 matches)
5. South Africa (0 points, 2 matches)
6. Canada (0 points, 2 matches)