The Kookaburras have fallen 4-1 to world number one Belgium in front of a noisy Melbourne crowd in the FIH Pro League on Sunday afternoon.
Australia’s lone goal scorer Daniel Beale attacked well early in the match creating multiple chances, but an onslaught of Belgium goals from Sebastien Dockier, Alexander Hendrickx and Tanguy Cosyns proved too much for the Kookaburras.
A tight first quarter saw the scoreboard read 1-1 at the siren thanks to a first minute goal from Beale and a 15th minute goal to Dockier, but the Australian’s were unable to convert again throughout the match.
Blake Govers and Jeremy Hayward had several chances to score after Australia drew a number of penalty corners late in the game, but missed traps and some fantastic goal keeping from Vincent Vanasch meant that the pair of Kookaburras couldn’t find the backboard.
Belgium’s Dockier was named with the Player of the Match.
The Kookaburras remain without a win in the FIH Pro League but have an opportunity to redeem themselves against Germany in Tasmania next Sunday, with tickets on sale at www.ticketbooth.com.au.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “Tough game. We hit a nice goal to start the game but Belgium took control of the game with their passing qualities.
“They gradually got on top. Our first half was quite good. We didn’t create a lot.
“Our third term is where they took over and were better in general skills.
“Tactically we were okay but if you’re losing the ball within seconds of the regain you’re always going to have a battle on your hands.”
Beale opened the match with a clever one-two goal in the first minute of play, partnering with Jacob Anderson to give the Australian’s the lead.
Dockier put Belgium on the scoreboard in the final seconds of the opening term, running wide and nailing the field goal on a tough angle.
Belgium piled on the next three goals of the game. Hendrickx scored the first with a rocket from a penalty corner, Dockier nailed his second on the turn in front of goal and Cosyns hit the scoreboard off an Augustin Meurmans assist.
The Kookaburras have an opportunity to redeem themselves against Germany in their next FIH Pro League appearance in Tasmania next Sunday.
Australia 1 (Beale 1’)
Belgium 4 (Dockier 15’, 35’, Hendrickx 28’, Cosyns 40’)