Australia and Germany both won their opening match at the Hamburg Masters. Australia took a 3-2 victory over Netherlands, while Germany was much too strong for England (6-0).
The future of the Kookaburras is on the right track under coach Ric Charlesworth, with a young line up recording a significant win over old rival the Netherlands last night at the Hamburg Masters, Germany.
With eight players having 20 games or less international experience, the result was impressive and continues Australia’s good recent run against the Netherlands after defeating them in the bronze medal match at the Beijing Olympics.
The Kookaburras also defeated the Netherlands in a four test series in Perth in late January 2009.
Even more significant for Charlesworth is the fact that youngsters Graeme Begbie, Eddie Ockenden and Simon Orchard were amongst the best players, continuing their good form throughout the entire European tour.
Veteran Luke Doerner also emerged as an important player during this match, scoring two goals via penalty corner. Deorner’s first goal was scored at the 21 minute mark and was quickly followed only three minutes later by a Eddie Ockenden field goal to set up a commanding two goal lead.
The Netherlands worked themselves back into the game just prior to half time, scoring at the 29 minute mark.
The Kookaburras midfield continued to work hard, providing constant attack into the circle which eventually resulted in Doerner’s second goal at the 42 minute mark.
Although the Netherlands scored a second goal at the 62 minute mark, the game belonged to the Kookaburras, who outplayed their opponents all match.
“With a hard working midfield unit working well we deserved to win by more than the one goal. We entered the Dutch defensive circle 25 times during the match to just 12 penetrations by the Netherlands forwards,” Said Charlesworth.
A young and largely inexperienced England side was comprehensively beaten by Germany in their opening match of the 2009 Hamburg Masters with goalkeeper George Pinner making his debut in a game that he will no doubt want to forget.
Germany’s most experienced player with 286 caps to his name, Matthias Witthaus, opened his side’s account after just five minutes as he launched the ball high into the net with a first-time slap from the right-hand side. Christian Zeller then scored the first of his two goals in the match in the 21st minute. With England unable to create any chances, the half ended at 2-0 to the host team.
Four second half goals left England dead and buried with Barry Middleton the only player to come close to scoring.
England’s team today contained six players with fewer than three caps a piece and the world’s no.1 side showed their experience in front of a home crowd at Uhlenhorster HC.
Manager Pete Nicholson was understandably disappointed with the result and said “The scoreline reflected the game. They were clinical in their finishing, and although we had some good spells, they were not sustained for long enough to influence the game.”
Australia – Netherlands 3-2 (2-1)
Goals Australia: Doerner 2 and Ockenden
Goals Netherlands: Weusthof 2
Germany – England 6-0 (2-0)
Goals Germany: Witthaus, Christian Zeller 2, Montag, Wesley, Menke.
Source: Hockey Australia / England Hockey