Kookaburras Denied As Dutch Storm Back For Draw

The Kookaburras have squandered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with the Netherlands in game three of their Test Series at Perth Hockey Stadium on Thursday night.

In goalkeeper Tyler Lovell’s 100th game, Australia held a 3-0 lead late in the third quarter after goals from Tom Craig, Flynn Ogilvie and Blake Govers but the Dutch pushed the Kookaburras the whole way.

FIH World Player of the Year nominee Mirco Pruyser pulled one back prior to the three-quarter time before final term goals to Thijs van Dam and Thierry Brinkman.

It might have been worse for the Kookaburras with Brinkman converting a low ball at the back post, but only seconds after the final siren had gone, denying the Dutch an unlikely win.

The result means the Dutch remain ahead in the series after Saturday’s 3-3 draw and Sunday’s 3-2 win in Narrogin.

The Kookaburras opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Craig converted from close range after Govers’ blind turn shot on the baseline forced a save from Pirmin Blaak.

The Dutch responded with the first penalty corner of the game which was blocked, before Govers fired wide with a drag flick.

Govers came close twice early in the second from two penalty corners, while Dylan Wotherspoon’s fine run set up Trent Mitton for a near post shot which was saved by Blaak.

Australia doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute when Ogilvie, in his third game back after a long-term injury, pounced when Blaak spilt a low cross from Jake Harvie to fire into the backboard.

The visitors applied pressure after the break with a Valentin Verga cutback and a penalty corner, while Daniel Beale came close twice, with one goal disallowed.

But Australia went further ahead when an unmarked Govers deflected Aaron Kleinschmidt’s drive in the 43rd minute.

The Netherlands ensured it would be a tense final quarter, when Billy Bakker found Pruyser to convert at the back post in the 44th minute.

The Dutch made it 3-2 in the 53rd minute when van Dam produced an expert tomahawk finish from a penalty corner.

And the visitors levelled the contest in the 57th minute when Brinkman swooped on a defensive error to fire past Kookaburras keeper Andrew Charter.

 Author Ben Somerford| Hockey Australia

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