The New Zealand Herald

Debatable goal gives Aussies edge over NZ

- Andrew Alderson on the Gold Coast

Australia 2 Black Sticks 1

A debatable goal proved the difference in Australia’s pool victory against New Zealand at the Commonweal­th Games yesterday.

Cory Bennett drilled a shot home from a penalty corner with 90 seconds remaining, but Australia’s defence held after Jacob Whetton and Trent Mitton slotted earlier attempts.

Regardless, both teams have qualified for the semifinals and will play either England or India.

New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce and captain Arun Panchia debated the call for the opening goal. They were concerned the ball had not travelled five metres off a free hit before it went in the circle.

Black Sticks coach Darren Smith said they were trying to get the umpire to review it.

“I think he should [in such circumstan­ces], because we’re playing some big hockey here.

“It’s Australia-New Zealand and we’re at the Commonweal­th Games, a couple of teams going at it, and there is a high chance it didn’t go 5m.

“We were a wee bit disappoint­ed with that. But, in the end, the second goal took it away from us.”

A match highlight was the grave music which reverberat­ed when a video review was called. It sounded like strains from a James Bond film before the MI6 agent extracts himself from a spot of trouble. The organisers should take a bow.

One instance came after Shea McAleese stopped a penalty corner with his horizontal stick in the 14th minute. The shock must have gone through his hands like an electric current, but he held firm.

Hugo Inglis got close to scoring for New Zealand in the second quarter when a penalty corner deflected off Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter. Inglis pushed it left but dribbled with alacrity throughout.

New Zealand held their nerve again some abrasive attack in the first period.

The hosts had four shots on goal but the Black Sticks were relentless keeping the ball clear of the net.

“It was a typical Australia-New Zealand battle; lots of physicalit­y, pace and attack,” Panchia said.

“They are discipline­d, swarm well [on defence] and make it tough. You don’t tend to get as much time as against other teams.”

Smith said either semifinal opponent would be a challenge.

“It’s not like we are going to find a bunny waiting for us. This was a chance to get a bit of acid and pressure [ into our campaign] and Australia always provide that.”

The Black Sticks men secured silver at Manchester in 2002 and bronze at Delhi in 2010.

 ?? Picture / Greg Bowker ?? Hugo Inglis comes under pressure from Australia’s Edward Ockenden in yesterday’s transtasma­n clash.
Picture / Greg Bowker Hugo Inglis comes under pressure from Australia’s Edward Ockenden in yesterday’s transtasma­n clash.

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