The Kookaburras capped a perfect build-up to the Rio Olympics when they won the Champions Trophy hockey tournament with a nail-biting win over India in the final.
After scores were locked at 0-0 at fulltime at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Friday night, Australia won the penalty shootout 3-1 to secure their 14th Champions Trophy.
The trophy ceremony was delayed by half an hour when India lodged a protest over Australia’s second shootout goal by Daniel Beale.
The Aussie initially failed to score but was awarded a retake on the grounds the Indian goalkeeper had committed an unintentional foul.
However, the Indian camp claimed the question was raised after the requisite time of eight seconds during which a player has to complete the shootout drill.
The protest was dismissed and Australia were declared champions.
Aran Zalewski and Simon Orchard scored for Australia in the shootout either side of Beale.
Australia failed to convert any opportunities in regulation time despite winning 10 penalty corners to India’s five, while discipline was an issue with Matt Dawson and Trent Mitton copping yellow cards.
“Happy with the result as far as us winning, but disappointed with the fact that we didn’t win it in normal time,” Kookaburras coach Graham Reid said.
“We created a lot of opportunities but we couldn’t put them away. We gave away too many cards and it’s very hard to play hockey with nine or ten men.”
The world No.1 ranked Australians will go into the Olympics full of confidence after going through the six-nation tournament unbeaten with five wins and a draw.
Playing without some of their biggest names who were rested, Australia scored 14 goals in six games to seven against in a tournament featuring most of the world’s best teams except the Netherlands.
However, Reid wasn’t getting carried less than two months before the Olympics.
“There’s a lot of work to do before Rio, so that’s what we will be concentrating on in the coming weeks.”