Australia have completed a week of domination by thumping New Zealand 4-1 in the final of a women‘s hockey tri-series tournament.
In freezing conditions in Cromwell, the Hockeyroos completed an emphatic rebound from their Commonwealth Games disappointment in April, when they lost the gold medal match to the Kiwis on the Gold Coast.
Twin hammerings of New Zealand in the round-robin phase – by scorelines of 4-1 and 3-0 – was followed by another compelling display in the decider.
Paul Gaudoin‘s team marked captain Emily Smith‘s 200th international with another compelling performance at both ends of the pitch which will be an important springboard into the World Cup in London, starting in July.
Smith provided drive in the middle of the turf while Stephanie Kershaw, Kristina Bates and young attacker Rosie Malone were standout performers on attack.
Jodie Kenny scored the lone goal of the first quarter from a penalty stroke before New Zealand responded via a diving Sam Harrison from a penalty corner.
Malone put the visitors back in front on the stroke of halftime through a fierce reverse stick shot.
Brooke Peris set up the third goal to Emily Hurtz and scored the fourth herself to virtually guarantee victory with a quarter still to play.
Smith was inspired before the game when presented with a video of her career by team-mates.
It served as another motivation to perform.
“Obviously after the Comm Games we were disappointed that we couldn‘t perform in a pressure game,” she said.
“We were using this as a chance to improve and practice playing in finals, and work out how to win in a pressure situation.”
Both the Black Sticks‘ tri-series opponents – Australia and Japan – are in their World Cup pool, along with Belgium.