Black Sticks women blow 2-0 lead to draw with Australia in series opener

New Zealand celebrate Olivia Shannon's goal.
Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

New Zealand celebrate Olivia Shannon’s goal.

At National Hockey Centre, Auckland: New Zealand 2 (Rose Tynan, Olivia Shannon) Australia 2 (Maddy Fitzpatrick, Mariah Williams)

The Black Sticks women conceded two goals in two minutes to squander a first win over Australia since 2019.

Australia’s fourth quarter fightback helped them earn a 2-2 draw in the first game of the four-match trans-Tasman series at Auckland’s National Hockey Center on Tuesday.

Rose Tynan scores a goal on debut against Australia on Tuesday.
Rose Tynan scores a goal on debut against Australia on Tuesday.

Led by some outstanding goalkeeping from Grace O’Hanlon, who kept Australia at bay in the first three quarters, New Zealand held a 2-0 advantage early in the final term.

Australia are one of the best sides in the world for a reason and netted twice within two minutes to start the fourth quarter to break the Black Sticks’ hearts.

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New Zealand were left to rue what might have been, impressing for three quarters and frustrating Australia on defence, who struggled to convert from their penalty corners.

It would have been an overdue win for the Black Sticks women, who hadn’t beaten Australia since September 2019.

New Zealand's Kaitlin Cotter and Australia's Mariah Williams battle for possession in the first test on Tuesday.
Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

New Zealand’s Kaitlin Cotter and Australia’s Mariah Williams battle for possession in the first test on Tuesday.

Australia and New Zealand met seven times last year with the Hockeyroos winning three games and four matches drawn.

Auckland striker Rose Tynan enjoyed a dream debut, scoring New Zealand’s opening goal at the start of the second quarter from their first penalty corner.

Megan Hull fired the ball towards the goal with Tynan reacting quickly and tapping in the rebound.

New Zealand's Tessa Jopp brings the ball forward against Australia in the first test.
Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

New Zealand’s Tessa Jopp brings the ball forward against Australia in the first test.

After failing to capitalize on some promising first half chances, Australia would have spoken about being more ruthless in front of goal in the second half.

They had a wonderful chance in the third quarter with Black Sticks’ captain Olivia Merry off the field for a green card (two minutes), but sent their drag flick wide from the penalty corner.

Australia couldn’t capitalise from three penalty corners within a matter of minutes and New Zealand made them pay.

Stephanie Dickins sent a perfect long pass to Olivia Shannon on the breakaway, who struck past Jocelyn Bartram to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.

New Zealand's Stephanie Dickins makes a pass against Australia in the first test in Auckland.
Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

New Zealand’s Stephanie Dickins makes a pass against Australia in the first test in Auckland.

Australia set up a tense finish, finally scoring early in the final quarter with their seventh penalty corner of the match. Maddy Fitzpatrick delivered a textbook drag flick to get the Hockeyroos on the board.

They made it two goals in two minutes with Mariah Williams connecting from a penalty stroke to level the score at 2-2 and set up a grandstand finish.

Both sides were playing their first international in nine months since last year’s Tokyo Olympics, where they were bundled out in the quarterfinals.

Olivia Shannon, left, celebrates her goal with Olivia Merry in New Zealand's 2-2 draw against Australia on Tuesday.
Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

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