Kookas pile on goals, breeze past Kiwis

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Murray Wenzel / AAP News

Australia’s men produced some showtime hockey to make light work of their biggest group-stage test and beat New Zealand 7-2 in Birmingham.

Owners of all six Commonwealth Games golds since the sport’s introduction in 1998, the Kookaburras were briefly threatened at 1-1 early in the second quarter.

But short corner specialist Blake Govers scored twice inside two minutes to quell any prospect of a boilover.

Jake Whetton then added his name to the scoresheet before a diving Nathan Ephraums slapped the fifth high into the net at Birmingham University.

A rare lapse in defence allowed Jake Smith to paddle a second home for New Zealand, before Australian skipper Aran Zalewski completed the rout with a quick double.

His first came from another penalty corner – they scored four from six – Zalewski reacting sharply to collect the rebound and scoop the ball over a diving Leon Hayward.

Zalewski then got a touch on a blazing first-time shot from Whetton that nutmegged the keeper to complete a brilliant length-of-the-field goal.

The victory followed a 12-0 rout of Scotland for last year’s Olympic silver medallists, who next face Pakistan on Thursday night.

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