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Black Sticks beaten by Australia in final

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">New Zealand responded with a Kane Russell drag-flick goal early in the final stanza but the Kookaburras sealed the result with a strike from Jeremy Hayward</span> © AAPNZNewsWire New Zealand responded with a Kane Russell drag-flick goal early in the final stanza but the Kookaburras sealed the result with a strike from Jeremy Hayward New Zealand are taking positives from a four-nations men's hockey tournament in Melbourne despite crashing to a 3-1 loss to Australia.

The Kookaburras were too good in the final of the International Festival of Hockey, winning by the same scoreline as when the teams met three days earlier.

It was New Zealand's fourth loss to Australia in five Tests this month, having ceded the trans-Tasman series 2-1 in Auckland.

Coach Colin Batch was happy enough, noting his eighth-ranked team are rebuilding following the Rio Olympics and that world No.1 Australia are always world class opponents.

"Overall I'm pleased with the new guys in the squad, they've experienced some high quality games both here in Melbourne and at the Trans-Tasman Trophy," Batch said.

"It was really important we made the final, and also our win over India which was virtually their Olympic team was pleasing so we head home with some positives to build on."

New Zealand's other games in Melbourne were a 1-1 draw with Malaysia and 3-2 win over India.

After an end-to-end start, Australia took control of the final soon before halftime through Trent Mitton.

Christopher Bausor doubled the lead midway through the third quarter from a counter-attack.

New Zealand responded with a Kane Russell drag-flick goal early in the final stanza but the Kookaburras sealed the result with a strike from Jeremy Hayward.

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