Saturday 2 February 2019 | The Hockeyroos have ended almost a decade of Dutch dominance with a ground-breaking 1-0 win over world champions Netherlands in their FIH Pro League opener in front of a sold-out crowd in Melbourne.
The Hockeyroos secured the upset over the world number one Netherlands, thanks to a number of defensive stops from local gun Rachael Lynch and a fantastic field goal in the 21st minute from Jane Claxton.
The victory was Australia’s first over the Dutch since July 2009 at the Champions Trophy. It was also the Hockeyroos’ first over the Netherlands in 19 attempts.
The result was the perfect start for the Hockeyroos’ maiden campaign in the new FIH Pro League, which has been launched this year.
Player of the Match Lynch said: “We always know the Dutch will come out hard and play well.
“We hung on. It makes a difference when you can score. One will do in this situation.
“It’s been a long time coming, so I’m rapt.”
Some strong attacking pressure from co-captains Jodie Kenny and Emily Chalker created a number of scoring opportunities in the first half and held the home team in good stead.
The Hockeyroos continued to mount the pressure throughout the third term and were able to draw consecutive penalty corners through Rosie Malone.
Hometown hero Lynch asserted herself in the final term, stopping a crucial shot from Kyra Fortuin before preventing Yibbi Jansen from scoring with a diving save.
Lynch could do no wrong late in the match, she stopped a rocketing penalty corner shot in the 56th minute, securing the Australian victory.
A late referral from the Netherlands threatened to give them an equalising opportunity but the decision was overturned.
The Hockeyroos now turn their attention to Sunday’s match against Belgium in Melbourne with tickets almost sold out.
Hockeyroos Paul Gaudoin said: “It’s pleasing. It’s good for the girls. We didn’t play that well but we found a way. Hopefully it’ll instil some belief.”
Australia 1 (Claxton 21′)
Images: Grant Treeby