The Kookaburras second match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup took place in Ipoh, Malaysia tonight, with the Australians defeating the hosts 6 – 1 thanks to hat tricks from both Tom Craig and Trent Mitton.
After a couple of early attempts on goal it was Tom Craig who gave the Kookaburras the early edge, with some team work from Matt Dawson leading to a field goal from Craig in the 11th minute of play. Malaysia almost tied the score with a penalty corner 19 minutes into the game, but the goal from Razie Rahim hit the post before going in and was disallowed.
Minutes later and the Kookaburras doubled their lead with Trent Mitton tapping the ball into goal to take the score to 2 – nil. Mitton was at it again four minutes later with a second field goal slotting into the net after the Malaysian defence lapsed. Eight minutes into the second half, and Josh Pollard set up a shot on goal for Tom Craig who easily put it into goal for his second of the game.
Following a penalty corner opportunity in the 42nd minute, Malaysia were on for a penalty stroke which Faizal Saari took easily getting Malaysia on the score board in the process and taking the score to AUS 4 – 1 MAS.
Right on the buzzer of three quarter time, Tom Craig made it a hat trick with a penalty corner goal giving him the trifecta and Australia a healthy 5 – 1 lead going into the final break of the game.
With just two minutes to go in the match Trent Mitton nailed a field goal to get another hat trick for the Aussies, leaving the game finishing with a AUS 6 – 1 MAS score line and giving the Kookaburras their first win of the Azlan Shah Cup.
Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “I think the most significant thing for me was our connections between the various lines were really strong tonight. We tried to improve that in the days leading up to the tournament, and we couldn’t quite get there last night, but tonight they were very good.
“Our defensive work and tackling was the basis of regaining the ball and generating goal opportunities. It was really pleasing to get a lot of field goals; there was some excellent complimentary play within the group. Tonight is only one win, but it’s a good basis for the group for the games ahead.”
The Kookaburras next play India on Tuesday, May 2 at 4.05pm AWST / 6.05pm AEST.
Scores: Australia vs Malaysia (Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2017)
KOOKABURRAS (Australian men’s team) 6 (3)
Tom Craig 11, 38, 45 (FG, FG, PC)
Trent Mitton 23, 27, 58 (FG, FG, FG)
MALAYSIA 1 (0)
Faizal Saari 42 (PS)