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Hockeyroos take bronze medal

03 August 2002

Two second-half goals 76 seconds apart enabled Australia to pull away from a tenacious New Zealand side and claim the women’s bronze medal.

Jo Banning

Jo Banning celebrates an Australian goal

The Hockeyroos were pre-tournament favourites, but found themselves facing the prospect of a return trip without a medal after their semi-final shock by England on Thursday.

Julie Towers beat Sandy Bennett on the right and crossed for Carmel Bakurski to rifle home in the eighth minute and give Australia the lead.

New Zealand responded two minutes later when Jaimee Provan bravely challenged keeper Rachel Imison and Amanda Christie followed up the rebound.

Australia restored their lead in the 14th minute when Jo Banning smartly controlled Angie Skirving’s free-hit from the right and smacked an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net from six yards.

New Zealand came back strongly and deservedly equalised after three successive penalty corners in the 23rd minute. Jaimee Provan pounced between two Australian defenders to tuck in the rebound.

In the 44th minute, Nikki Hudson upped a gear and burst through the New Zealand defence where Ngaire Smith tucked in the rebound. A minute later, Katrina Powell ripped open the New Zealand defence and rounded Clarke to slot in.

Suzie Pearce’s late strike for the Black Sticks with seven seconds left on the clock was merely a consolation.

Nikki Hudson, the Australian forward, said afterwards: “It was kind of disappointing when we knew we weren’t going to be playing in the gold medal match but certainly to be taking home the bronze is better than nothing and the girls are pretty happy about that.

“We sort of made it hard for ourselves by waiting until the second half to really pick up a bit of form, we didn’t play well in the first half so we got a bit of a ribbing at half-time and that inspired us to go out there and put the game away”.

Katrina Powell, the Australian captain, echoed Hudson's comments: "It was a sombre mood after losing in the semi-final but at least we are walking away with a medal."

"We are maybe not appreciating bronze at the moment but in later years I am sure we will look back and be glad of the medal."

“We put up with a lot comments comparing our present group with the old team. We have to get away from that and perhaps the bronze will help us to find our own identity.”

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