Kookaburras celebrate festival tournament win

Dylan Wotherspoon was named player of the tournament.
Dylan Wotherspoon was named player of the tournament. Ian MacNicol

HOCKEY: Australia has won the inaugural four-nation Festival of Hockey tournament in Melbourne with a 3-1 win over New Zealand in the final.

The world No.1 Kookaburras had gone ahead through a Trent Mitton goal from close range which beat Black Sticks goalkeeper Richard Joyce on his left side, before Christopher Bausor put the hosts 2-0 up with a long range breakout.

After Russell had raised Black Sticks hopes, Jeremy Hayward shut the door on another upset inside the last two minutes.

Last weekend, New Zealand beat Australia 2-1 for its first win over its trans-Tasman rivals in New Zealand since 1967.

Australia has won the other five clashes between them this year, including at the Rio Olympics,the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in April and earlier in the Festival of Hockey.

Kookaburras interim head coach Paul Gaudoin said: "It was a pleasing win at the end of a pretty tough tournament. I think we've learned an awful lot over the last two or three weeks as a young developing group and to be able to play in a final, with the pressure of a final, and perform and win was excellent for the group.”

Earlier in the day India defeated Malaysia 4 -1 to take out third position, with goals from Rupinder Pal Singh, Raghunath Vokkaliga, Talwinder Singh and Akashdeep Singh.

The Kookaburras and India now head to Bendigo for a two-game test which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

"There are a couple of changes that will be made in the squad for Bendigo, but we're looking forward to another opportunity to grow and have a look at some young players,” Gaudoin said.

The Kookaburra's Dylan Wotherspoon was announced as the Player of the Tournament, while India's Rupinder Pal Singh was the leading goal scorer.

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