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Australia, Kiwis to clash for gold

delhi Updated: Oct 13, 2010 00:39 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times
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For mighty Australia, it would be another step towards consolidating their supremacy in the women's hockey by winning the second successive gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, when they take on dark horses New Zealand in the summit clash here on Wednesday.

The match is of major significance to the Hockeyroos, who despite being undisputed leaders in women's hockey for a long time, finished fifth in the last month's World Cup besides missing the Champions Trophy. Moreover, the fierce rivalry between the two neighbours is expected to add more spark to the encounter, a 1.30 pm start.

"We have to take whatever comes our way. New Zealand have a good side and we want to achieve our target of winning the gold medal," said Australian team coach Franky Murray.

The Aussies would also love to give a warm send-off to coach Frank Murray, who is set to quit the job after the meet.

"He (Murray) has been within the team for the last six years, nothing less than a win would be a great send-off to him," said captain Madonna Blyth.

New Zealand captain Kayla Sharland too sounded optimistic about success. "It would be a tough game. We know each other well, but we need to take the chances when we get them. We need to keep mixing it up, more corners and shots at goal," he added.

For the record, New Zealand have had a great going so far, having not dropped a point on the way to the final, whereas Australia stumbled once in the league phase, drawing 1-1 with South Africa.

Much before the two top teams clash for the first two places, England and South Africa clash for the bronze medal at 9.00 a.m. England finished with a bronze medal at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup this year.

Young Crista Cullen, who has been in a good form in penalty corner with four goals so far, would be the key player to watch, where as ever-trusted drag-flick queen Coetzee Pietie, who has staged a comeback to the side after a five-year retirement, is expected to throw her weight behind South Africa's podium finish.