THE Kookaburras secured their fifth consecutive Champions Trophy gold medal after a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in extra time.
The win was Australia’s 13th Champions Trophy gold in what was an epic match in front of a capacity crowd at Melbourne’s State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday.
Assistant coach Graham Reid described it as a great victory.
”I thought it was a good performance, a dominant performance,” he said. ”The first half we started really well and then we let them back in the game and then we started to come good again at the very end of the first half … the second half I thought we dominated, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the net.
”We thought we’d hold off until the golden goal to score, but it was a good performance overall.”
The Dutch scored first 18 minutes into play after defender Sander Baart made the most of a penalty corner. Australia had a chance to score an equaliser soon after, because of a Dutch body obstruction inside the circle, but they were unable to convert.
But it wasn’t long before the host side got another short corner.
While Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann refused to let it past, Russell Ford found himself in a handy position near the left goalpost to put Australia on the board and level the scores at 1-1 in the 31st minute.
Another penalty corner to the Kookaburras soon followed, after the ball came off a Dutch foot inside the D with less than a minute left in the first half.
Despite missing the conversion, an illegal block by the Netherlands led to a penalty stroke to the host side after the clock wound down, but Stockmann – who was later awarded goalkeeper of the tournament – managed to stop Jamie Dwyer’s shot.
As play resumed in the second half, both teams worked hard in front of goal but were unable to convert their opportunities, forcing the game into extra time.
But with less than three minutes left, attacker Kieran Govers shot the golden goal, forcing the Dutch to be content with a silver medal.
The Kookaburras’ defensive efforts have earned them plenty of praise during the tournament having conceded only three goals in six matches and four clean sheets in their past four games.
”We’ve been working on it for the last two or three years and we’re starting to see some of the games that we’ve made from the work,” Reid said.
”Now we have to match it again with our attacking and our finishing.”
Earlier on Sunday, Pakistan defeated India in the bronze medal play-off 3-2.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.