Both Australian teams finished their test series in Perth with defeat at the hands of the USA women’s national team and the Japanese men’s national team respectively.
Despite a poor start, the reigning Olympic champions USA suffocated the Aussie Stingers, who found it hard to build any sort of attacking momentum in their last game in Perth. Excellent performances from the experienced players such as Rachel Fattal, Maggie Steffens, and the USA’s two keepers was enough to seal a 9-6 victory.
Meanwhile, the Japanese superstar, Taiyo Watanabe, was on fire against the Aussie Sharks, netting a triple-hat-trick as his side won by two scores (13-11).
All teams now pack up in Perth and head a few thousand kilometres East, ahead of their final official game in Brisbane.
Australia Women 6 – 9 United States Women (2-0, 0-3, 2-4, 2-2)
Australia: L. Hedges, P. Casey, T. Fasala 1, D. Jackovich 1, B. McClean 1, J. Oberman, P. Pedley, S. Hearn 1, Z. Hearn 2, S. Miliken, S. Pontre, J. Emerson, C. Durston
United States: A. Johnson, M. Musselman, T. Prentice, R. Fattal 2, J.Sekulic, M. Steffens 2, E. Ausmus 1, A. Stryker, D. Mammolito, R. Gazzaniga, J. Bonaguidi 2, J. Raney, A. Longan
The United States women’s national team stayed undefeated in Perth, winning the final test match with the Aussie Stingers on the Western Coast, 9-6.
The visitors had a slow start, but just as they did in the opening game between the two sides, Adam Krikorian’s side rallied from a losing position.
Braces from Rachel Fattal, Julia Bonaguidi, Jordan Raney and captain Maggie Steffens did the hard work in attack for the Yanks. Their defence was typically insatiable.
Luckily for Paul Oberman, it won’t take much brainstorming to see where his team went wrong in this bout; a measly single extra-player score from a possible nine says everything you need to know.
The Stingers got off to a speedy start in the game though, taking a 2-0 lead through the first quarter with scores from Arancini and Jackovich.
A total shift in energy though saw the States overturn the deficit to take a 3-2 lead at half-time, helped by two 5m penalty scores by Raney and Bonaguidi.
The Americans capitalised on their good rhythm, and crucial scores by their oldest and youngest players (Steffens and Ausmus) saw them take a sizeable three goal lead (6-3).
A late score in the third from Tenealle Fasala uplifted her side, but Team USA shut the door on any chance of a late revival in the fourth from the Stingers, with Bonaguidi and Raney putting the nail in the Aussie coffin. The Americans missed a later penalty, but it had no bearing on the final outcome.
While Australia secured a 10-10 in the first test match, they have since suffered two defeats, coming up short in both duels with the US.
Australia Men 11-13 Japan Men (2-4, 3-2, 5-4, 1-3)
Australia: K. Parnis, K. Marsden, G. Ford 1, M. Maksimovic 1, N. Power 3, A. Lambie, M. Byrnes, S. Slobodien, A. Ford 1, M. Berehulak, A. Grgurevic 2, B. Edwards, T. McJannett 1, N. Elphick
Japan: R. Sasano, S. Adachi, T. Watanabe 9, D. Ogihara, Y. Maita, N. Yamada, K. Date, I. Nitta, I. Ura, F. Tsuta, K. Okawa 2, M. Yamamoto, T. Nishimura, K. Tanamura
Japan took their first win of the series (13-11) thanks to a phenomenal performance by Taiyo Watanabe, who scored nine times for his team.
Undoubtedly, Japan’s best player had a huge impact on the game with his sublime performance, even if five of his goals were scored from inside the 5-meter penalty line.
Australia was not very successful at capitalising on opportunities, especially with their extra player conversions (which ended at around 29%). They did well to keep themselves in the running by the end of the third quarter, but couldn’t pull through when it counted in the third.
The Sharks trailed 4-2 after eight minutes due primarily to their lack of discipline in allowing Watanabe three penalty opportunities, which he converted without hesitation.
Tim Hamil’s squad entered the game in the second period, and Nathan Power, Andrej Grgurevic, and Tom McJannett’s goals put the Sharks in close pursuit of the Blue Samurai (6-5).
Nathan Power, the co-captain of Australia, completed his hat-trick with two more goals, the second of which came within twenty seconds of the end of the third quarter, tying the score heading into the fourth quarter (10-10).
But the Japanese soaked up the Aussie pressure well, and powered through their opponents in the last quarter. Putting his team up 11-10, Kiyomu Date (one of three Japanese players to finish the game on three exclusions) then watched as Watanabe struck three times in a row to put the game out of reach for the Sharks.