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Kookaburras beat NZ in Oceania Cup hockey

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/10/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Jeremy Hayward has led the Kookaburras into the Oceania Cup final with a 5-1 win over New Zealand in Sydney. © Jan Kruger/Getty Images for FIH Jeremy Hayward has led the Kookaburras into the Oceania Cup final with a 5-1 win over New Zealand in Sydney. Jeremy Hayward has hit two goals to help the Kookaburras defeat New Zealand 5-1 and book a spot in the Oceania Cup hockey final.

Hayward converted two set pieces on Thursday night in the first and third quarters, sandwiching an opportunistic goal by Jake Whetton in Sydney.

Tom Craig made it a four-goal lead with a long-range bomb in the final period, before Dylan Wotherspoon sealed the win late in the match.

The win came after the men's national team opened the five-day tournament on Wednesday with a 30-0 thrashing of Papua New Guinea.

Colin Batch's side will have the next two days off before a likely rematch against the Black Sticks in Sunday afternoon's decider.

The Kookaburras have won all nine previous Oceania Cup titles since its inception in 1999.

The home side enjoyed the best chances of a close opening quarter. Hayward's penalty corner found woodwork and Daniel Beale forced a foot-save from the Black Sticks' goalkeeper.

But Hayward eventually broke the deadlock when he converted another set piece in the 14th minute, flinging powerfully to take a 1-0 lead at the first break.

A green card to Tom Wickham appeared to have turned momentum the Kiwis' way just before halftime, however the home side doubled their advantage soon after the resumption.

Young gun Blake Govers rattled the post from the edge of the shooting circle, only for the rebound to be scooped into the top of the net by Whetton in the 34th minute.

Hayward made it a three-goal lead when he hit straight on another penalty corner in the 42nd, before Craig capped off the night with a long-range bomb.

New Zealand scored a consolation goal through Daniel Harris, however the Kookaburras had the last laugh when Wotherspoon finished off a Trent Mitton run.

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