Grace Stewart’s Hockeyroos win Oceania Cup

The Hockeyroos. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA
The Hockeyroos. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

GRACE Stewart’s Hockeyroos and the Kookaburras have both won the 2017 Oceania Cup with victories over New Zealand at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre on Sunday night.

Gerringong product Stewart and her Hockeyroos triumphed 2-nil over the Black Sticks in the 3pm final, with the Kookaburras dominating New Zealand in the 5.30pm start with a 6-nil win.

Australia scored twice in the first five minutes of the opening two quarters to set up the win.

Tom Wickham and Aran Zalewski both finished with doubles, while the ever-industrious Jake Whetton and Dylan Wotherspoon got the other goals.

The triumph was the Kookaburras’ 10th consecutive Oceania Cup win.

Australia’s success comes ahead of next month’s International Festival of Hockey in Bendigo and Melbourne and the World League Finals in India in December.

“To get a win over the Black Sticks and win the Oceania Cup is always great,” defender Matt Swann said. 

“It’s always a great experience to play in front of an Australian crowd.”

The Hockeyroos overcame Rio Olympics conquerors New Zealand to win their third consecutive Oceania Cup.

First-half goals from Jane Claxton and Kristina Bates were the difference with Australia holding off the Black Sticks’ attempts to rally in the second half.

The Hockeyroos started in perfect fashion, with new captain Emily Smith providing a precise pass for Claxton who fired home from just inside the shooting circle.

Australia’s second came in dramatic circumstances, with Bates deflecting into the back of the net with barely seconds to play in the first half.

The victory secures the Hockeyroos their seventh Oceania Cup crown and goes some way to exacting some revenge for last year’s Olympic defeat.

“It’s an amazing feeling - the Kiwis have had it over us the last couple of tournaments so it’s really good to get the win today,” Bates said.

“It puts us in a good spot heading into the Commonwealth Games next year.

“It’s a good result for us.”

Australia’s men and women had already claimed 2018 World Cup qualification but will gain valuable rankings points from the triumph.