The Hockeyroos have missed out in their bid for a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal after going down 4-1 to New Zealand in Saturday afternoon’s final at Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
Australia claimed the silver medal for the first time, having claimed four of the five gold medals since hockey was admitted as a Commonwealth Games sport in 1998.
Fourth-ranked New Zealand proved too strong and experienced, although it took them until late in the first half, with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch keeping them at bay, to break through via Shiloh Gloyn’s goal.
The Black Sticks broke the game open in the third period with goals from Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry from penalty corners, before Jodie Kenny’s 50th minute drag flick gave Australia late hope.
The Hockeyroos replaced goalkeeper Lynch with an outfield player with nine minutes to play in a bad to find a way back, but New Zealand added a fourth from Anita McLaren to seal their maiden Commonwealth Games women’s hockey gold.
New Zealand finished the game with a 57 per cent possession dominance and won nine penalty corners compared to Australia’s three, converting three of them.
Australia started well but it was New Zealand with the chances as Lynch came to the Hockeyroos rescue on numerous occasions.
In the third minute, Lynch kicked away a low McLaren diagonal cross-cum-shot, while Gloyn fired wide after the ball fell into her path at close range. Lynch also scrambled away a close-range 12th minute chance to Samantha Harrison.
In the second period, Lynch had to be alert to thwart the danger from McLaren initially, before a brave Ashlea Fey out-bodied Olivia Merry to clear.
The Hockeyroos survived a few penalty corners before Savannah Fitzpatrick had a great chance when found unmarked inside the circle but Black Sticks keeper Sally Rutherford smothered her shot.
Madi Ratcliffe fired a tomahawk over the top as Australia started to create, before Lynch did well intercept down the other end with Madison Doar waiting to pounce on a good chance.
Fitzpatrick had another chance denied after Jane Claxton’s drive in the 27th minute.
The Black Sticks then took the lead when Gloyn swooped on Karri McMahon’s mistrap, firing low into the backboard past Lynch. The goal was the first Australia had conceded all games.
New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen had the first of the chances in the second half, forcing a high save from Lynch.
The Black Sticks doubled their lead in the 34th minute when Rose Keddell fired home from a rebound after Merry’s effort from a penalty corner. Australia desperately referred the goal but it stood.
New Zealand added a third in the 42nd minute, again from a penalty corner, with Merry lashing in a powerful shot past the diving Lynch.
The visitors pushed for more goals early in the final period, with Smith searching for Gloyn in the 46th minute at the near post.
The Hockeyroos won their second penalty corner for the match in the 49th minute, with Jodie Kenny forcing a save from Rutherford.
However, Australia won another penalty corner barely 30 seconds later, which Kenny rocketed into the backboard for her fifth goal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to give the hosts hope.
With nine minutes to play, Australia replaced goalkeeper Lynch with an outfield player in a bid to find two more goals, although they were almost immediately found out when Harrison flashed wide.
Australia pushed, winning another penalty corner, but New Zealand sealed the win with five minutes to play through McLaren’s drag flick.
Australia 1 (Kenny 50’)
New Zealand 4 (Gloyn 28’, Keddell 34’, Merry 42’, McLaren 55’)