A stunning display from the Kookaburras destroyed the home side’s World Cup hopes as a hat-trick from Chris Ciriello helped Ric Charlesworth’s team to a superb 6-1 win.
Despite falling behind to an early strike from Jeroen Hertzberger Australia came back and were simply ruthless in front of goal. Ciriello’s strikes all came from penalty corners but there were further goals from open play by Kieran Govers, Glenn Turner and Jamie Dwyer, showing the Kookaburras’ all round dominance of the game.
The Dutch started brightly and forced two early penalty corners. Mink Van Der Weerden went for goal but he was kept out by two excellent saves from Andrew Charter high to his right.
With 14 minutes on the clock however, Charter was beaten. An excellent piece of skill and a backhand strike from Hertzberger found the bottom corner to lift the roof off the stadium.
Undeterred Australia rallied and Jaap Stockmann had to use all of his giant frame to repel Dwyer’s effort. However, on 20 minutes there was little the goalkeeper could do to prevent the scores being levelled as Ciriello ripped his first goal into the bottom corner.
With the home crowd silenced, Australia stuck again. Govers reacted first to a loose ball in the D and rifled a backhand shot into the net past Stockmann who seemed taken somewhat by surprise at the power of the shot.
The half time interval offered some respite for the Dutch but two minutes after the break Turner made it 3-1 showing good persistence from close range to force the ball home. With the Dutch reeling, Ciriello grabbed his second in the 47th minute with another penalty corner and then six minutes later he completed a memorable hat-trick with another trademark drag flick.
Hertzberger had a penalty corner well saved by Charter but the game was well and truly up and with six minutes left Dwyer ran the defence a merry dance and slotted home to complete the rout. There was still time for Australia to give their second goalkeeper Tyler Lovell a run out and the new man in the sticks made a stunning save from a Hertzberger thunderbolt to compound the Dutch misery.
Hat-trick hero Ciriello told The Top of the D afterwards:
“It feels pretty good, it hasn’t really sunk in. The way Ric gets us to play whatever’s behind you is behind you. We concentrate minute by minute, hopefully it’ll sink in later tonight.
As a team we were great. Scoring goals is always nice but I need the other guys to help me do that. I’ll take the goals any day, don’t get me wrong but it’s a team effort.
I’ll celebrate, for sure. I don’t drink beer but I’ll find a couple of scotches I’m sure.”
Australia dominated the final as they had the whole tournament. Worthy winners and a great send off for Ric Charlesworth in his last World Cup.