KOOKABURRAS 2 (2)
Russell Ford 4 (PC)
Glenn Turner 5 (FG)
PAKISTAN 0 (0)
AUSTRALIA secured their place in the final of the International Super Series Hockey 9s with a feisty 2-0 victory over Pakistan in Perth on Saturday.
It was a contest which almost boiled over just before half-time when Rob Hammond and Shafqat Rasool tussled and Hammond appeared to receive a blow to the head from Shafqat’s stick.
Players from both sides squared up but umpire Devendra Patel managed to keep the teams apart for the remaining 39 seconds and the short half-time break appeared time enough for tempers to cool.
Honours might have been even in the posturing stakes but it was the Kookaburras who dominated in normal play and should have been more than two goals to the good at half-time.
The first was a slick corner exchange which featured Eddie Ockenden, Jamie Dwyer and finally Russell Ford who steered the ball home after only four minutes.
Two moments later, Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt made the mistake of trying to stop Glenn Turner’s progress along the back line and was beaten at his near post. But it was Butt who twice came to the rescue later in the half when Liam De Young let fly from 10 metres and then Jason Wilson attempted to slap home from a corner.
From then Australia dominated, creating numerous chances with Turner coming closest with a stinging shot which hit the post.
“It was a tough game against a fast, skilful team,” said Ford. “The key for us, as always, is to do the basics well. We turned the ball over a few times in the first half but the format suits us - there’s a lot of space so you can play a bit more freely. It allows our natural game to take its course so it suits us.”
Speaking about his altercation with Shafqat Rasool, Rob Hammond’s view after the game was conciliatory: “There’s a fair bit of a history between the teams – they are passionate as are we. Generally in our play we don’t take a back step and contact is important, but to go in with the stick is a terrible act. Still, we got the win and that’s good.”
The Kookaburras progress to the men’s final on Sunday at 2:00pm AWST. Coverage of the final day on the International Super Series Hockey 9s can be seen on ABC 1 from 3:30pm local time across the country.
To catch up with the tournament so far, head to ABC iview here.