Kookaburras win inaugural International Festival of Hockey

Champs: Tamworth's Matt Willis and his Kookaburras team-mates celebrate their win in the inaugural International Festival of Hockey. Photo: Hockey Australia

Champs: Tamworth's Matt Willis and his Kookaburras team-mates celebrate their win in the inaugural International Festival of Hockey. Photo: Hockey Australia

Tamworth’s Matt Willis and Armidale’s Georgina Morgan helped Australia complete the International Festival of Hockey double.

Willis’ Kookaburras defeated New Zealand 3-1 in the final to claim the inaugural silverware after Morgan’s Hockeyroos had fought back from 1-nil down to beat the Indian Eves 3-1 and win their three-game series.

“It was a fantastic way to finish the series today, we started well, we created a lot of opportunities and then against the run of play India got a goal which tested the resolve of the group,” Hockeyroos interim head coach Jason Duff said

Trent Mitton, Chris Bausor and Jeremy Hayward then found the back of the net for the Kookaburras as they converted a one-goal half-time lead into a two-goal success.

Playing in his 100th game for the Kookaburras, Mitton gave them the advantage at the break with a reverse stick strike which sailed into the top right of the net. 

Bausor extended the lead to 2-nil in the 37th minute, sliding across to tap the ball in from a shot from Dylan Wotherspoon that sailed wide. Hayward then sealed the win in the final minute after Kieran Govers had stolen the ball back in the Australian circle.

“It was a pleasing win at the end of a pretty tough tournament. I think we’ve learned an awful lot over the last two or three weeks as a young developing group and to be able to play in a final, with the pressure of a final, and perform and win was excellent for the group,” Kookaburras interim head coach Paul Gaudoin said

The Kookaburras and India now head to Bendigo for a two-game test Tuesday and Wednesday.

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