NZ put dampener on hockey captain’s record

New Zealand have put a dampener on Australian hockey captain Madonna Blythe’s record-breaking match at the World League Semi-Final tournament.


The Black Sticks beat Australia 2-0 to remain top of their group in Belgium on Friday (AEST) and spoil the party for Blythe, who became Australia’s most-capped women’s player when she took to the field for the 304th time.

“We were pretty disappointed with the result,” Blythe said.

“We went into it pretty confident that we would be able to execute things well and I think there were a few things that let us down today.”

Blythe succeeds fellow Queenslander and former captain and Olympic gold medallist Nikki Hudson as the most capped Hockeyroo.

The pair grew up playing hockey together and Blythe says she “really looked up to and admired” her former teammate.

Coach Adam Commens said Blythe had been the “life blood” of the Hockeyroos over the last decade and led by example.

The captain said she felt privileged to play for the team.

“That doesn’t change with as many games as you play,” she said.

“I’ve had that leadership role for a while now so it’s just about making sure that I play well now every game that I get.”

Black Sticks captain Anita Punt scored a second-half goal and set up the other to also enter the record books as New Zealand’s all-time record scorer with 78.

Australia entered the game behind New Zealand only on goal difference and now sit three points behind the Group B leaders and ahead of third-placed hosts Belgium on goal difference.

Commens said his team had failed to finish good opportunities and was not impressed with their corner penalty attacks.

“But I thought we created more than enough field goalscoring opportunities. We didn’t make the most of those opportunities where, at the other end, New Zealand did.”

India, Australia’s opponents on Saturday, sit three points further back in fourth place.

New Zealand’s last pool game is against Belgium.

A top-three finish at the 10-nation tournament secures automatic entry to the 2016 Rio Olympics.