Australia comes up trumps in Comm Games final rematch

By Ruth Smith

The Black Sticks have gone down to over-the-ditch rivals, Australia in the final of the Tri-Nations Women's International Hockey series. 

The home side's performance was a stark turnaround from last month's match-up at the Commonwealth games where they defeated Australia 4-1.

The Tri-nations Women's International Hockey Series wrapped up with the Australian side turning silver into gold.

"Obviously after the Comm Games we were disappointed that we got the silver medal and couldn't perform under the pressure game, so we're using this as a chance to improve and practise playing in finals,” said Emily Smith, captain of the Australian side.

The Black Sticks could not follow up their dominant performance from the Commonwealth Games, losing 4-1, the very same margin that they beat their rivals with at the last match-up.

"We put out a really good fight last night, but we just couldn't follow that up today.  Credit to Aussie, they played very well and outplayed us today," says captain of the Black Stick, Ella Gunson.

Although the match didn't go the Black Sticks way, they still remain positive about the World Cup and their chances.

"There's a lot of things that we need to improve on and tighten up.  It's quite disappointing, our defensive effort this tournament, we're usually really tight back there.  It'll be good to meet them there at the World Cup,” she says.

Those changes may prove difficult to see through, however, with fellow tri-nations teams, Japan and Australia featuring in NZ's pool.

"Japan and Aussie are in our pool, so that was quite interesting and I guess we had to think about that during the week too, we didn't want to give too much away," Gunson says.

The Black Sticks will now focus their attention to the World Cup held in England, with the team looking to be named next week.