It was a case of seven heaven as the Kookaburras confirmed themselves as one of the most successful teams in Commonwealth Games history, annihilating India 7-0 in the gold medal match in Birmingham.
Australia has now won all seven gold medals in men’s hockey since the sport was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
This was a Kookaburras performance of the highest calibre on the biggest Commonwealth Games stage as they dominated a highly fancied India, leading 5-0 at half time before scoring another two in the seven goal rout.
“The Kookaburras have created a bit of a dynasty at the Commonwealth Games so to go on and continue that tradition with a new group, new players…it’s amazing and I’m really proud of the whole team and the whole unit,” said co-captain Aran Zalewski, who claimed his third Commonwealth Games gold medal.
“It’s a great group and we love spending time together. There’s good harmony and we all want to challenge each other. It’s not always roses when you have to get the best out of each other, but there is a level of respect and trust that allows us to do that.”
“We pride ourselves on performing well here.”
After edging past England in the semi finals, the Kookaburras were not going to allow a repeat in the big dance as they ruthlessly picked India apart.
Blake Govers opened the scoring in trademark fashion with a drag flick in the 9th minute, the goal his seventh of the tournament.
The lethal Nathan Ephraums then scored the first of his two goals just before quarter time after linking up with fellow young gun Jacob Anderson and Flynn Ogilvie.
When Jeremy Hayward’s pinpoint overhead found Jake Harvie who weaved into the circle to win another penalty corner for the Kookaburras it again spelt danger for India.
After Govers stung the pads of PR Sreejesh with his drag flick, the Kookaburras were awarded another penalty corner. This time Hayward thundered in a shot and Ephraums was quickest to the rebound, his jink towards the goal line tapped over the line by Anderson.
Kookaburras goalkeeper Andrew Charter was then on high alert, scrambling well to keep India at bay.
With the defence doing its job (India did not have one penalty corner for the match), the Kookaburras went in for the kill and struck twice in two minutes to effectively seal gold.
Zalewski won possession in midfield and passed the ball into the circle to Tim Brand who held the ball up before sending a straight low ball towards the goal and Tom Wickham expertly glanced it through the legs of PR Sreejesh.
Four quickly became 5-0 as the Kookaburras sliced through the Indian defence again. Zalewski and Ephraums were again involved as Anderson notched up his second in five minutes with a clinical shot on the reverse.
Desperation from Matt Dawson to block a shot in the circle with eight minutes to go in the third summed up the Kookaburras’ ruthless mood as they refused to give an inch.
Kookaburras 7 (Govers 9’, Ephraums 14’/42’, Anderson 22’/27’, Wickham 26’, Ogilvie 46’)
@ University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre
Kookaburras: 4.Jake Harvie, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matt Dawson, 7.Nathan Ephraums, 8.Johan Durst (gk), 9.Jacob Anderson, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden (c), 12.Jake Whetton, 13.Blake Govers, 15.Josh Simmonds, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski, 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Daniel Beale, 29.Tim Brand, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward
A diving Ephraums superbly deflected an Ogilvie drive into the circle for his second, before the provider became scorer as Ogilvie capped off a memorable Kookaburras performance.