The second day of test fixtures in Perth brought about mixed fortunes for Australia this afternoon, with the Aussie Sharks defeating Japan 14-11, while the Stingers went down 10-5 to the reigning World and Olympic Champions, the United States.
Forty-eight hours ago, we saw ties in both matches between the four sides; the USA pulled off an excellent comeback to end at a 10-10 parity with the Stingers, while Japan held the Sharks to a 13-13 result.
The USA were far better today, and built their foundations, as they so often do, from a strong defence. While it wasn’t a showcase of attacking prowess from the three-peat Olympic champions, they found the goals they needed.
The Sharks improved from their first clash with the Blue Samurai, with impressive performances from the likes of Nathan Power, Andrew Ford and Blake Edwards.
United States Women 10 – 5 Australia Women (2-1, 3-1, 2-2, 3-1)
USA: A. Johnson, M. Mussleman, T. Prentice 2, R. Fattal 1, J. Sekulic, M. Steffens, E. Ausmus 3, A. Stryker, D. Mammolito, R. Gazzaniga, J. Bonaguidi, J. Raney 3, A. Longan
Australia: C. Durston, P. Casey 1, E. Armit 1, D. Jackovich, T. Fasala, J. Oberman, P. Pedlye 1, S. Hearn, Z. Arancini, S. Miliken, S. Pontre, M. Steere, G. Longman
Hat-tricks from seventeen year old Emily Ausmus and Olympiacos defender Jordan Raney steered the United States to a deserved 10-5 victory over their hosts Australia in their second test match in Perth.
The clash was much less evenly matched than the 10-10 tie that had been played out forty-eight hours earlier, with Team USA dominating play from the outset. USA’s keeper, Ashleigh Johnson had a super game in-between the sticks.
It was the Stingers ill-discipline that invited some gratuitous pressure from the Americans, and while the Americans were wasteful on their power plays (30% conversion rate), the extra-player strikes that Adam Krikorian’s side did convert accounted for half of their goals in the game.
Hat-trick heroes Raney and Ausmus both netted in the first to give the reigning World Champions a 2-1 advantage. Another from Ausmus, and scores by Fattal and Prentice put the USA up by three at half-time (5-2).
The Stingers had some early hope in their third, with Sienna Hearn (20) netting twice in a minute and a half to cut the deficit back to a single score.
The visitors, who were playing in white caps for this game, had other ideas though; Denise Mammolito, who spent last season playing for Sant Andreu, added the American’s sixth goal, before Raney finished off a slick extra-player move with practically the last attack of the quarter.
That late goal in the third was a decisive sucker-punch for the Stingers, who looked a little deflated heading into the final sector of the game. Further scores in the last eight minutes from Raney, Ausmus and Prentice abruptly terminated any chance of an Aussie revival.
The last bout between the two teams in Perth takes place on 15th January at 11am CET, before both head east for the fourth and final test match in Brisbane.
Japan Men 11 – 14 Australia Men (3-2, 2-3, 4-6, 2-3)
Japan: K. Tanamura, S. Adachi 1, T. Watanabe 5, D. Ogihara 1, Y. Maita, N. Yamada 1, K. Date, I. Nitta 1, I. Ura, F. Tsuta 1, K. Okawa 1, M. Yamamoto, T. Nishimura, R. Sasano
Australia: J. Parnis, N. Hallam, G. Ford 2, M. Maksimovic, N. Power 2, A. Lambie 1, M. Byrnes, S. Slobodien, A. Ford 4, M. Berehulak, A. Grgurevic, B. Edwards 4, L. Barker, T. McJannett 1, M. Robinson
The second test match between Australia and Japan in Perth ended with a 14-11 victory for the Aussie Sharks.
Despite five goals from Japan’s Taiyo Watanabe, the day belonged to the hosts, who were inspirited by an enlivened Perth crowd.
It was a frantic, fast-paced game, with neither team able to pull away until Andrew Ford’s fourth goal in the last two minutes of the game gave Australia clear breathing room (13-10).
Excellent attacking contributions from Perth-local, Andrew Ford (4), as well as four scores by co-captain, Blake Edwards, gave Tim Hamil’s team an attacking edge.
But while Japan started slowly, and found themselves 2-0 down after two minutes (Lambie and Ford), they had sparked into life by half-time, with a second quarter hat-trick by Taiyo Watanbe initially giving his team a 4-2 lead, before the Sharks equalised going into the break (5-5).
Neither team was able to break away, as the gripping dogfight carried over into the third quarter. Two goals (Power and McJannett) in the last minute of the third though gave the Stingers something to defend, and while Watanabe grabbed his fifth goal of the game from a 5m penalty, two unanswered scores from Ford in the last put the win firmly within the Aussie’s grasp.
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