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Hockeyroos snap Dutch hoodoo in opener

The Hockeyroos have upset the Netherlands for the first time in nine years to get their FIH Pro League campaign off to the best possible start in Melbourne.

Hockeyroos snap Dutch hoodoo in opener

The Hockeyroos have upset the Netherlands for the first time in nine years to get their FIH Pro League campaign off to the best possible start in Melbourne.

Veteran goalkeeper Rachel Lynch starred yet again as Australia broke a long hoodoo to down world champions the Netherlands 1-0 in their opening match of the new FIH Pro League in Melbourne.

Lynch pulled off numerous top-shelf saves, especially in the final quarter, to deny the Dutch after midfielder Jane Claxton scored the only goal of the match early in the second quarter on Saturday.


"It's pretty amazing," said Victorian Lynch, who has been one of Australia's best players in recent seasons.

"I think it's nine years since we've beaten them, and to do it in front of my home crowd was super exciting.

"I had to wear a few today but that's part of being a goalkeeper."

It was still 34C when the match ended just before 1900 (AEDT) and the Australians will have to recover quickly as they take on Belgium at the same venue on Sunday in temperatures forecast to hit 40C.

Dutch coach Alyson Annan, arguably the Hockeyroos' best ever player, was inducted into the Hockey Australia Hall of Legends after the match but it was a bittersweet homecoming for the dual Olympic gold medallist.

The visitors enjoyed 80 per cent possession in the first quarter but found few avenues to goal as the Australians were determined to mark tightly and deny their opponents space.

Claxton's goal came against the run of play as she dribbled into the circle and shot from an angle, then knocked the rebound over Dutch keeper Josine Koning.

The Netherlands had just two penalty corners but several one-on-one chances that were shut down courageously by Lynch or her defenders.

"It wasn't the prettiest, but we'll take it," said relieved coach Paul Gaudoin.

The women's Pro League has a weekly home-and-away format featuring the world's top nine teams.

Australia plays all its home games in a six-week stretch before heading overseas, while the Dutch travel to the US in a fortnight for their next match.

The top four teams play finals in Holland in June.

AAP


AAP




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