The Kookaburras have sensationally clinched a Test Series win over the Netherlands after an emphatic 6-1 victory in front of a strong crowd at Perth Hockey Stadium.
Daniel Beale and Lachlan Sharp both scored doubles on Saturday night as Australia, who trailed 1-0 in the four-game series after Sunday’s 3-2 loss and two draws, produced a stunning finale to secure the win.
The industrious Beale opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Dutch rising star Thierry Brinkman levelled five minutes later.
Sharp restored Australia’s lead with his maiden international goal right on half-time before the Kookaburras ran away with the game in a tremendous third quarter where they scored three goals.
Lithgow youngster Sharp laid off for Flynn Ogilvie’s 3second minute goal, before Sharp and Beale added their personal seconds late in the term.
Western Australian midfielder Aran Zalewski rounded out the scoring in the 59th minute, with a point-blank finish to seal a 6-1 victory.
Sharp said: “It would’ve been nice to get a few more wins in the series. We came close a few times but overall we’re happy to get the 6-1 win tonight.”
The Kookaburras were without ill captain Mark Knowles again, while Jake Whetton celebrated his 150th cap for Australia as the hosts started well with Tom Wickham testing Dutch keeper Sam van der Ven.
Bjorn Kellerman had a chance of his own down the other end, before the Kookaburras went ahead when Beale broke into the right side of the shooting circle with his cutback deflected into the backboard by a Dutch defender.
Kookaburras keeper Andrew Charter thwarted Brinkman early in the second quarter after a pass from Seve van Ass, but Brinkman wouldn’t be denied, firing home from the next play.
Australia failed to convert a series of penalty corners before Whetton burst forward down the right flank and fizzed a low ball across goal which didn’t get the required deflection.
However, the hosts restored their lead before the long interval when Sharp expertly deflected home after driven free hit on the stroke of half-time.
Sharp also laid off the pass for Ogilvie’s pinpoint reverse stick finish to make it 3-1 while substitute goalkeeper Tyler Lovell kept the Dutch at bay from a handful of penalty corners and raids.
It was Sharp who doubled Australia’s lead with a powerful finish into the roof of the net from Matt Dawson’s pass in the 43rd minute.
Beale grabbed a double for himself after receiving the ball unmarked inside the circle and calmly slotting past van der Ven in the 45th minute.
The Dutch had their moments in the last quarter but Australia added a sixth goal when Zalewski finished off a move he started with a close-range finish after Dylan Wotherspoon’s cutback.
The Kookaburras are next in action in the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in early March before final selection for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.