Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin hailed his side’s determination after Saturday’s come-from-behind 2-1 win over USA and has called on more fans in Sydney for their back-to-back matches in a fortnight’s time.
The Kookaburras knocked off Spain 2-1 before the Hockeyroos got the better of USA at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday, with the Australian sides to return to the venue in a fortnight.
Australia will play a double-header against Argentina on Saturday 16 March followed by New Zealand on Sunday 17 March, with tickets on sale via ticketbooth.com.au.
More than 2,000 fans turned out in Sydney on Saturday, roaring both sides on to victory thanks to last-quarter goals, while there were almost 5,000 in Perth last month and a sell-out in Melbourne too.
“The crowd was wonderful,” Gaudoin said. “This FIH Pro League has been a great format.
“We hope they come out in their droves for the double-header in two weeks.
“Maybe a lot of the country people can come out and support against Argentina and New Zealand in a few weeks’ time.
“It’s great to see people coming out and supporting us in what is a great event with both teams playing.”
Hockey Australia have made available discounted group bookings which would suit regional clubs and associations travelling to Sydney for final home FIH Pro League matches for the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras before they begin the overseas legs.
The Hockeyroos’ win sent them top of the women’s standings, although the Netherlands leapfrogged them on Sunday after winning in China.
Gaudoin was thrilled with his side’s ability to grind out the win, having trailed 1-0 at three quarter-time, despite dominating the chances.
“At the end of the day it’s about persistence and finding a way to win,” he said.
“It’s a grind. International hockey is not pretty all the time.
“We knew what USA could do. They’re a hard-running team. They had a lot of people in defence. It was never going to be a pretty game.”
NSW forward Mariah Williams scored the winner and her third goal in the FIH Pro League, having made her return from injury for the first time in 18 months earlier in the campaign.
“She’s been really important for us in our attacking group,” Gaudoin said.
“Match-by-match she’s improving. She’s getting a feel for what we’re doing again. She’s looking after herself really diligently as well. Let’s hope it continues.”
He also hailed co-captain and 2018 Player of the Year Jodie Kenny who returned from a quad injury to fire in the equaliser, but also produce some exceptional defensive efforts.
“She’s a tough customer and it’s wonderful to have in our team,” Gaudoin said.
“She sets a great standard about how to go about it.
“She’s scored but she’s also diving there to stop balls in defence, so for someone who’s 32 and still doing it so well, she’s really important for us.”
Matchday tickets are available from $30 for adults and $10 for children via Ticketbooth and this link.
Saturday 16 March 2019
Kookaburras v Argentina – 3pm start (local time)
Hockeyroos v Argentina – 5pm start (local time)
Sunday 17 March 2019
Kookaburras v New Zealand – 3pm start (local time)
Hockeyroos v New Zealand – 5pm start (local time)