10 May 2015

Black Sticks beaten again

8:32 am on 10 May 2015

The New Zealand men's hockey team have suffered a 5-2 defeat in their second game against hosts Australia at the International Challenge tournament in Tasmania.

Nick Haig celebrates a goal with his New Zealand team-mate Shea McAleese.

Nick Haig celebrates a goal with his New Zealand team-mate Shea McAleese. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It was an up tempo match in which both sides created plenty of scoring opportunities.

However the Kookaburras managed to capitalise on more of them.

The Black Sticks scored their first goal early in the second quarter with a field goal from Shea McAleese before Nick Haig converted the team's only penalty corner of the night in the 56th minute.

Devon Manchester played the second half in goal for New Zealand and made some outstanding saves, while 21-year-old George Muir was impressive in the midfield.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was a much improved performance from Tuesday's 3-0 loss.

"We created a lot more scoring opportunities tonight and we were a lot better than our first game against Australia," he said.

"Although we only managed one penalty corner, we did have some very good goal shots and that was something that we targeted as needing improvement.

"Because our mindset was a lot more attacking we left ourselves more open defensively, so that's a balance we still need to perfect as well as being more diligent with one-on-one battles."

Australia made the most of two penalty corners in the opening quarter with Chris Ciriello converting in the fourth minute and Blake Govers flicking in from the top of the circle eight minutes later.

McAleese pulled one back for the Black Sticks with a field goal early in the second quarter before Trent Mitton responded to take the Kookaburras into halftime with a 3-1 lead.

New Zealand pushed hard throughout the second half and the hard work finally paid off in the 56th minute when Haig flicked low and into the right corner.

The Kookaburras managed two more goals of their own though, with Jamie Dwyer delivering one minute before three quarter time and Tim Deavin scoring 11 seconds from fulltime.

The Black Sticks play their final game in Hobart against Korea at 5pm tonight (NZ time).

The International Challenge is important preparation for the World League Semi-Final in Argentina next month, where the Black Sticks have an opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.