Black Sticks hoping to back up promising start to Trans-Tasman series

The Black Sticks men will be looking to overturn last night's late loss to the Kookaburras when the two sides meet again in the second game of the Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North this evening.

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The Black Sticks were unable to hold on for the draw after equalising late in the game. Source: Breakfast

The men were made to rue a late collapse that saw them lose 3-1, having equalised with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.

Black Sticks head coach Darren Smith said there were a few nerves after 15 months away from international action.

“It would have been nice to put some pressure on them at 1-1. I was little disappointed with the way we finished.”

The Black Sticks lost their captain Blair Tarrant in the first few minutes after being hit in the face by Tom Wickham firing the ball goalward. With some stitches to the left eyebrow, Smith decided not to risk the skipper for the rest of the game.

Australia finally broke the deadlock midway through the third quarter with Tim Brand latching on to a brilliant no look reverse pass from Daniel Beale at the top of the circle to give the Kookaburras a 1-0 lead.

The Black Sticks equalised midway through the final quarter, with stand-in skipper Hugo Inglis taking a quick free hit and Findlay calmly firing the ball into the goal from the top right of the circle.

The Kookaburras struck straight back with Trent Mitton knocking in a rebound after two good saves from George Enerson. Wickham popped in a third for the Kookaburras to give the visitors first bragging rights in the series.

Meanwhile in the women’s clash, the Hockeyroos opened the scoring near the end of the second quarter with Rosie Malone slotting in an easy goal when advantage was played after a Kiwi foot in the circle.

The home side wasn’t able to convert numerous penalty corners, and early in the second half Julia King couldn’t control the ball in front of an open goal.

Late in the third spell Olivia Merry intercepted a defensive pass and fired it goalward but the Australian keeper Jocelyn Bartram was up to the task.

But it was Olivia Shannon on home turf who touched the ball between her legs from a Sam Charlton cross to finally claim the equaliser in the fourth quarter.

The Black Sticks held off multiple late attacks from the Hockeyroos to keep the score at 1-1.