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Tardy Black Sticks lose to Australia

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/11/2016

New Zealand paid for a lacklustre start in going down 3-1 to Australia, reducing their chances of contesting the four nations men's hockey final in Melbourne.

The Kookaburras powered to a three-goal lead in the first quarter to set up their second win at Festival of Hockey tournament.

New Zealand replied through a penalty corner flick to defender Kane Russell in the third quarter but the deficit was too great.

Following an opening 1-1 draw with Malaysia, the Black Sticks will need to beat India on Saturday to have any chance of playing in a final against the unbeaten Australians.

New Zealand coach Colin Batch was pleased with how his team recovered from a disastrous start in which they conceded a double to Kieran Govers before Aaron Kleinschmidt slotted another goal in the last play of the opening stanza.

"We were able to hurt them in some areas and Kane scored a superb goal," Batch said.

"Our finishing and quality in fourth quarter was very good so we need to take that into our next game against India."

Kookaburras interim head coach Paul Gaudoin said New Zealand were able to capitalise on a lack of composure from his team.

"We lost our way a little bit after half time, and maybe relaxed which let them back into the game," he said.

Australia beat New Zealand 2-1 in the trans-Tasman series in Auckland last week.

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