Australia have taken out third place at the World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg, South Africa tonight, defeating Spain 8 – 1 and qualifying for the World League Final and the 2018 World Cup along the way.
The game began with both Australia and Spain fighting for possession of the ball, but it wasn’t long before Australia took control of the game. Jake Whetton cracked the score board seven minutes in when he smacked the ball straight into the net from the top of the D.
Spain had their chance minutes later with a penalty corner opportunity, however their shot on goal was easily saved by Australian keeper Tyler Lovell.
The Kookaburras were quick to reply with their own opportunity at a penalty corner and the injection from Daniel Beale was drag flicked with speed into the back of the net by Jeremy Hayward, giving Australia a 2 – nil advantage within the first ten minutes of play.
Coming back from the first break and Spain were quick off the mark with two attempts on goal within the first minute, both of which were saved with ease by Tyler Lovell.
Tom Craig followed on by sprinting the ball up to the Australian D before the Kookaburras were awarded a penalty corner. The opportunity was taken with Jeremy Hayward again using a powerful drag flick to score his second goal.
With just three minutes to go in the first half Trent Mitton took control of the ball, working it down into the Australian D before shooting at the net with Aaron Kleinschmidt tapping the ball on to give Australia their fourth goal.
Minutes into the second half and Mitton and Kleinschmidt teamed up again. Mitton moved the ball along the baseline before passing to Kleinschmidt who was positioned directly in front of the net to flick the ball into goal.
Scoring Australia’s sixth goal was Tom Craig who worked the ball in from a long corner to shoot it into the left of the net with a powerful flick.
In the final minute of play for the quarter it was Trent Mitton’s turn to score, a reverse flick from the top of the D brushing past a Spanish stick before it knocked into goal giving Australia a 7 – nil lead with 15 minutes of play remaining.
With just two minutes remaining in the game Australia scored their eighth goal with a pass from Tristan White reaching Tom Wickham who knocked the ball into the net.
Spain finally made their mark on the game with just over a minute of play to go; a penalty corner goal from Pau Quemada getting Spain on the board and leaving the final score at AUS 8 – 1 ESP.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “ Obviously we had an outstanding game and it was nice to finish the tournament with a performance like that. Full credit to the players in the progress we’ve made in the tournament. It’s given us a lot of belief in the team going forward.
“We’ve ticked a few boxes in this tournament qualifying for World League Final and the 2018 World Cup, which will give us a good structure going forward. It means a lot to us finishing third in the competition, obviously we would have liked to have played in the final but we’re happy with the bronze medal.”
The Kookaburras will contest the World League Final in December.