The Hockeyroos have made it two from two with a commanding 5-0 victory over South Africa in their second pool match of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
A double from Penny Squibb and goals from Renee Taylor, Steph Kershaw and 100 gamer Kaitlin Nobbs made it 13 goals scored and none conceded to set up a mouth watering pool match against New Zealand, the other team in Pool B with a perfect record, on Tuesday.
Similarly to when the Hockeyroos took on South Africa at the recent World Cup, it was Squibb again who opened the scoring from a penalty corner as her pinpoint drag flick snuck inside the right post in the third minute.
Shanea Tonkin had the other serious opportunity of the opening quarter as she wound up and fired on goal but South Africa’s goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande made a sharp save.
The Hockeyroos continued to create openings in the South African defence, Claire Colwill again testing Mbande.
In her 50th international, Georgia Wilson fired a shot over the crossbar after a great run from Kershaw as the Hockeyroos continued to press forward.
Tonkin and Grace Stewart were proving a handful in attack for the South African defence, however the Hockeyroos could not add to their one goal advantage heading into half time.
The two goal buffer came early after the resumption as Taylor executed a superbly directed drag flick into the side of the net to reward the Hockeyroos’ dominance.
Stewart hit a shot on the turn but it went straight at Mbande, however the Australian striker would soon turn provider.
Stewart did well in the attacking circle, creating space to shoot low and Kershaw was positioned perfectly to get her stick on the ball and watch it end in the net.
Aleisha Power, who replaced Jocelyn Bartram in goal for the second half, came up with some crucial saves to prevent South Africa from pegging a goal back.
The result was sealed early in the last quarter when the Hockeyroos were awarded a penalty stroke after a goal bound ball struck the foot of a South Africa player on the goal line.
Celebrating her 100 game milestone, Nobbs stepped up to score her fourth of the tournament and the Hockeyroos fourth of the game.
Squibb then rounded off the scoring in the 48th minute as she fired a drag flick into the roof of the net to make it five.
“It’s a solid start. Coming off back of Kenya we were a bit disappointed but tonight I think we improved in some areas that we wanted to improve on,” said Stewart.
“It’s about how we are playing and moving the ball forward that we are concentrating on.”
Looking to the match with New Zealand, Stewart admits there is a sense of wanting some Commonwealth Games redemption after the Black Sticks defeated the Hockeyroos in the gold medal match four years ago.
“Anytime you come up against New Zealand you want to beat them, you always want to win that Trans-Tasman battle, but there will be that added motivation going into the game after what happened in 2018.”
The Hockeyroos will take on New Zealand on Tuesday 2 August at 6.00pm AEST.
Catch all the hockey from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on Seven and 7plus.
Commonwealth Games Australia website
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games website
South Africa 0
Hockeyroos 5 (Squibb 3’/48’, Taylor 32’, Kershaw 36’, Nobbs 46’)
@ University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre
Hockeyroos: 1.Claire Colwill, 2.Rosie Malone, 4.Amy Lawton, 6.Penny Squibb, 7.Aleisha Power (gk), 8.Georgia Wilson, 9.Shanea Tonkin, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 14.Steph Kershaw, 15.Kaitlin Nobbs, 18.Jane Claxton, 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20.Karri Somerville, 21.Renee Taylor, 24.Mariah Williams, 29.Rebecca Greiner, 30.Grace Stewart (c)