7 Oct 2011

NZ men end losing streak to Australia

10:01 am on 7 October 2011

The New Zealand men's hockey team has ended a 13-year losing streak against Australia with a convincing 3-0 win over the Kookaburras in the opening game of the Oceania Cup series in Hobart.

A great strike by Hugo Inglis in the 8th minute gave the Black Sticks a 1-0 lead at half-time, and Andy Hayward converted two penalty corners in the second half to put the result beyond doubt.

The Kookaburras missed several gettable chances, but were also denied by a stellar performance from the Black Sticks goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex who was thrilled with the result, saying they always believed they had it in them.

He says they're having to re-assess their prospects for the series now after skipper Liam Burrows said they would settle for a solitary win at the tournament.

Skipper Phil Burrows had said they'd be happy with one win in the three-match series, however Pontifex says if they can match that performance and counter what Australia will come out with next, he's sure they can come away with a series win.

Pontifex says for the London Olympics they've really got to string some performances together and they've got a fantastic opportunity against the World Champion Australians to do it.

The Black Sticks women were beaten 2-1 by their Australian counterparts despite New Zealand opening the scoring after only three minutes.

The Hockeyroos equalised with a penalty stroke and converted a corner just before half-time, holding on during a rain-affected second half for the win to avenge their Champions Trophy loss to New Zealand earlier this year.

Both men's and women's sides have already qualified for the Olympics following Fiji's withdrawal from the tournament, but pool places are still up for grabs.

The series continues over the weekend with the second and third games to be played on Saturday and Sunday.