Second-gamers Jacob Anderson and Jack Welch both hit the scoresheet as Australia knocked off Malaysia 5-2 in their first match at the Darwin International Hockey Open (DIHO) on Tuesday night.
The Kookaburras raced to a two-goal first-quarter lead thanks to goals from Dylan Wotherspoon and Tom Craig on a humid night at the Marrara Hockey Centre.
— The DragFlick™ (@Dragflickworld) September 18, 2018
Haziq Samsul pulled one back for Malaysia before the long interval, but Australia responded emphatically after half-time.
Mackay product Anderson swept home in the 32nd minute from Matt Swann’s cutback and Tasmanian forward Welch added the fourth two minutes later in similar fashion.
The pair both debuted in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Argentina in a DIHO warm-up match.
Malaysia pulled back a late consolation from a penalty corner play when Firhan Ashari lashed in a rebound, before Tim Brand fired home a fifth goal with 30 seconds to play.
On Wednesday night, Australia plays world number two Argentina, who defeated Japan 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon.
Kookaburras co-captain Aran Zalewski said: “It’s great to start with a win. Argentina will be tough tomorrow so we’ll need to improve.”
Brand almost set up the opener in the seventh minute when his cutback eluded Daniel Beale and Wotherspoon.
A minute later, Wotherspoon scored, breaking free on a fast break with his effort deflected in for the opener.
Craig added the second in the 11th minute, also getting on the end of a swift move.
Malaysia replied after quarter-time with Samsul popping up at the second post to make it 2-1.
Josh Beltz was yellow carded shortly before half-time but Australia maintained their advantage.
The Kookaburras fired out of the blocks after the main break, with Anderson finishing off a good move initiated by fellow Queenslanders Daniel Beale and Swann.
In the 34th minute, Australia had another goal when Welch calmly volleyed home from close range.
Jeremy Hayward tested Malaysia goalkeeper Hairi Rahman with a trademark drag flick before three quarter-time.
Malaysia kept Kookaburras goalkeeper Tyler Lovell honest when Samsul fired powerfully on the turn in the last, before Ashari scored in the 54th minute from a penalty corner.
The Kookaburras had the last laugh when Brand fired home a rocket in the 60th minute.
Australia 5 (Wotherspoon 8’, Craig 11’, Anderson 32’, Welch 34’, Brand 60’)
Malaysia 2 (Samsul 18’, Ashari 54’)