August 7, 2009
Australia’s Kookaburras felt they had something to prove after Thursday afternoon’s tight 2-1 victory over Canada, and a score line reading 6-2 after the second match of the mini-series would indicate that they did. Overall, the game was not as unbalanced as that result might indicate, but Canada’s few errors and mental lapses were costly.
Canada opened scoring on a penalty corner opportunity at the tenth minute, with Pete Short scoring on an option play. Unfortunately, soon after, Canada endured a ten minute stretch that they would like to have back, in which Australia scored a quick three goals. During the period, Canada’s marking was not strong, as they had trouble containing high forwards and wide midfielders. Heading into halftime, the score was 3-1.
Australia held the advantage in penalty corners with eight chances to Canada’s four, but the Canadians were opportunistic, capitalizing on two of them with their second finished off by Wayne Fernandes. Unfortunately, by the time Fernandes scored, Australia had put in two more, bringing the score to 5-2. The Kookaburras’ sixth goal was scored in the final minute, off another penalty corner.
“We had good performances all around but we had some mental lapses, and gave the ball away in the middle of the field. Against Australia, you can’t do that because they will cash in,” Head Coach Alan Brahmst said of the game.
And so concludes Team Canada’s 2009 Australia Tour as the players will return to their homes in Europe and Canada over the upcoming days. Although it was tough to lose all six matches, Canada made considerable progress over the course of the trip.
“We played well below our capacity in the first matches, and we made some positive improvements over the last couple of days. We fixed some things and did some good things. Now we have data on where we are and have identified some problems, and we’ll put together an action plan to fix them,” reflected Brahmst.
Standout players include Toronto’s Ken Pereira, who performed consistently well over the last two weeks. His last two matches were particularly strong, even with the flu-like symptoms he was playing with on Thursday. Rob Short also acquitted himself well, filling in for the injured Paul Wettlaufer as the defensive director on the field.
Ultimately, when the World Cup comes around, Canada will look back at these early matches against the world’s elite as valuable learning experiences. For now, the guys have a little time to relax and absorb the experience. Welcome home boys.