Parker at the double
Hockeyroos advance to semi finals
Australia’s women will face either hosts New Zealand Black Sticks or Korea, who finished bottom of Pool A, as they seek to secure a third consecutive appearance in the event’s grand final.
Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens was far happier with his side’s performance against Ireland following a frustrating match against Canada on Tuesday.
He said, “Today, against a more accomplished opponent, to win 3-0 was satisfying, particularly in the pressure situation of a quarter final.
“They’re [Ireland] a very good side. We saw against the Black Sticks the other night they were leading for the first few quarters and they played some enterprising hockey. We knew that if we played our style of game and continued to be persistent throughout the match the opportunities would come.
“Our style of play is a relentless pressing game and putting on a lot of defensive pressure. I thought we were good in that area today and when we won the ball we counter-attacked quickly. We created opportunities from that.
“You need to be able to create a lot of chances and then you need to take them. We were a bit unlucky. We hit the post and I thought the ‘keeper pulled off some great saves so a promising performance for us.”
Two-goal heroine Georgie Parker admitted the coach had had stern words following Tuesday’s match.
She added, “To win 4-0 [on Tuesday] against most teams you’d be pretty happy but considering the amount of shots and circle penetrations we had [against Canada] 4-0 wasn’t good enough so we had a bit of the blasting that we deserved and came out today with a better, more cohesive performance.
“As a striker it’s our job to score goals. We’ve been struggling to score field goals in last couple of years so it’s nice to put a couple of field goals away today.”
Against the world number 15 side, the third-ranked Hockeyroos enjoyed another dominant performance, led upfront by in-form South Australian Parker. It was Parker to whom the first chance of the match fell but her shot went wide, and the Hockeyroos were almost punished moments later when only a scrambling defence kept out Ireland at the other end.
From then on, however, while Ireland competed well, it was largely Australia’s game. Parker’s close range reverse stick strike nestled in the bottom corner in the 11th minute and it was only through the luck of the Irish that Casey Sablowski’s shot immediately after quarter time cannoned back off the post instead of finding the back of the net.
A series of penalty corners came and went for the Hockeyroos, who were denied by the Irish goalkeeper on several occasions.
The Hockeyroos have largely opted for straight flick set piece efforts as teams hide their alternative routines with the Olympic Games just 121 days away. But it was from an alternative routine that Ashleigh Nelson made it 2-0; the penalty corner injector deflecting home on the back post in the third quarter.
And it was Parker who struck late on with her fourth of the tournament as she fired a powerful low tomahawk effort beyond Irish goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran from the narrowest of angles. She now sits equal first in the tournament top scorer standings, level with Mie Nakashima of Japan.
The Hockeyroos will face the winner of the fourth quarter final between New Zealand and Korea in Saturday’s semi final (4:15pm AEST).
Results & Fixtures, today
Japan 3-1 India
China 1-0 Canada
Australia 3-0 Ireland
New Zealand v Korea
Semi Final & Classification Fixtures, Saturday, 9 April
5-8th: India v Canada (9:30am AEST)
5-8th: Ireland v New Zealand OR Korea (11:45am AEST)
Semi 1: Japan v China (2:00pm AEST)
Semi 2: Australia v New Zealand OR Korea (4:15pm AEST)
Hockeyroos’ squad v Ireland, Hawke's Bay Cup
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 328/70
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 168/94
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC) 144/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 92/9
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 34/6
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 203/69
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA) 95/31
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 83/13
Casey Sablowski (South Coast, NSW) 240/44
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 145/59
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW) 42/5
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 103/2
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 90/9
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 164/34
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, NSW) [SASI] 28/2
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 44/11
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW) 11/5
Ashlee Wells (Moe, VIC) 71/0