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Black Sticks women stun Australia, claim victory in FIH Pro League

Sharpshooter Olivia Merry gave a stunned New Zealand something to smile about with two goals in their 3-1 win over the Hockeyroos in the new Pro League at Sydney Olympic Park.

The Black Sticks, reeling from Friday's mass shooting in Christchurch, rallied in wet conditions to condemn Australia to a double loss in their last weekend of home matches.

Merry took her tournament-leading tally to eight goals and hoped the victory would go some way to boosting spirits back home.

"I'm from Christchurch and we're all devastated," she said of the attack that has so far claimed 50 lives.

"My heart goes out to all those people affected by it. We really appreciated the minute's silence before the game.

"We came out firing from the get-go and it was a good team performance."

Australia was wasteful in attack, careless in defence and guilty of giving the ball away too many times under little pressure.

They will need to be much better in the gruelling away part of the Pro League - to Argentina, China, the US and Europe - if they are to sew up a top-four finals berth.

The Hockeyroos dropped to fourth after the weekend losses to Argentina and New Zealand, who are hot on their heels in fifth place.

"We have to be able to finish; that is a clear concern for us," said a disappointed Australian coach Paul Gaudoin.

"We're not putting them away and that gives the other teams an opportunity."

Australia missed two golden chances within a minute at the left post in the opening quarter before Merry put the visitors in front in the 17th minute when her penalty corner slap was deflected by an Australian defender up over keeper Jocelyn Bartram.

And straight after halftime she doubled the pain, flicking home from close range after Australia repeatedly failed to clear the ball from the defensive circle.

Savannah Fitzpatrick grabbed one back early in the last term but Amy Robinson sealed the issue with a plucky deflection at chest height off a corner rebound just minutes later.

Australia next travels to New Zealand on Anzac Day while the Kiwis are away to Argentina in a month.

Striker Olivia Merry reflected on last night's 5-1 thumping in Christchurch.
The Black Sticks women celebrate. Source: Photosport


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