The Kookaburras have celebrated defender Matt Dawson’s 150th game and secured their best Olympic Pool round results since the 1988 Seoul Olympics after overcoming a dogged New Zealand 4-2.
The Kookaburras top Pool A with a goal tally of 21 – six higher than the next best in the tournament, Belgium.
The world number one ranked Kookaburras took control early in their match against the Black Sticks with a steal by Blake Govers setting up Tim Brand to convert a well-executed flick in the 9th minute.
Not to be outdone, Black Sticks drag flick specialist Kane Russell stunned goalkeeper Andrew Charter with his speed and finesse to equalise off a penalty corner and leave the scores tied 1-1 at quarter time.
Nothing separated the two teams in a scoreless second quarter with the ball possession equal at 50 per cent and circle penetrations similar with 11 (AUS) to 7 (NZL).
Kookaburras 4 (Brand 9’/50’, Govers 55’, Wickham 57’)
New Zealand 2 (Russell 13’/58’)
@ Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo
Kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matthew Dawson, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden (c), 12.Jake Whetton, 13.Blake Govers, 15.Josh Simmonds, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski, 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Daniel Beale, 25.Trent Mitton, 29.Tim Brand, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward