20 Apr 2015

Black Sticks coach wants more resilience

10:37 am on 20 April 2015

The New Zealand women's hockey coach, Mark Hager, says the Black Sticks must learn to be tougher defensively before the Olympic qualifiers later this year.

Mark Hager

Mark Hager Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks were beaten 3-2 by Australia in last night's final of the Hawke's Bay Cup in Hastings, conceding the match-winning goal on the stroke of fulltime.

The visitors scored after the Black Sticks' defence failed to clear a penalty corner and Hager says losing in that manner was heartbreaking.

"They scored three goals and we didn't, we didn't put away our corners, we made a couple of errors in defence which let them back into the game so yeah it was disappointing from that point of view."

Hager says errors cost his side dearly in their first international final since the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

He says the side has come a long way but they still have to learn to win in pressure-cooker games.

"Playing in finals at least you get the opportunity to feel what it's like but it just highlights that if you make those errors at certain times then you're going to get punished. It's not just a single error but it's a combination of two or three errors at once that end up costing you goals."

The Black Sticks defender Sam Charlton was named the inaugural winner of the "Robyn Mactaggart' medal.

The award recognises the player who is judged the best and fairest over the 24 match tournament.

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