Grace Stewart’s Hockeyroos claim silver medal at Commonwealth Games

Grace Stewart (back row, second from left) and her Hockeyroos teammates. Photo: Grant Treeby
Grace Stewart (back row, second from left) and her Hockeyroos teammates. Photo: Grant Treeby

NEW Zealand have claimed their first Commonwealth Games gold medal in the hockey with clinical 4-1 win over trans-Tasman rivals Australia, which includes Gerringong’s Grace Stewart.

The Hockeyroos entered the final without having their net breached in five matches leading up to the final, but a 14-minute spell where they conceded three goals consigned them to silver.

Shiloh Gloyn's slap got the Kiwis in front just before halftime, before Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry set up a commanding 3-nil lead with a quarter to go on Saturday.

Watched on by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Australia got one back through Jodie Kenny's darting penalty corner in the 50th minute before an Anita McLaren penalty flick four minutes from fulltime ended any thoughts of a comeback.

The Kiwis' 20-year wait for hockey gold also ended.

New Zealand had only made the Commonwealth final once in the women's draw, losing agonisingly to Australia on penalty strokes in Delhi in 2010.

However there would be no such heartbreak on the Gold Coast, where they took advantage of a Hockeyroos side that appeared fatigued from the outset.

Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was called on early and often for the home side.

When she wasn't batting away penalty corners, she was pouncing on loose balls or sweeping behind a beaten defence, including a desperate dive to deny Gloyn in the opening period.

But she was finally broken by a 28th-minute rocket from Gloyn, who found herself alone at the top of the shooting circle and fired low and right past an outstretched Lynch.

Australia had a couples of chances of their own, with Savannah Fitzpatrick going close on two occasions, but were otherwise limited for opportunities like they have for most of the campaign.

New Zealand picked up where they left off after the break, and doubled their advantage on Keddell's rebound goal in the 34th minute despite protests from the home side.

But a Merry penalty corner three minutes from three-quarter time all but sealed Australia's fate, with Kenny and McLaren then trading penalty goals in the final period.