Hockeyroos have more in store despite final loss

HOCKEY 

A DECADE has passed since the once mighty Hockeyroos last claimed a global title, but coach Adam Commens believes Australia can again be considered a force despite losing 5-1 to the Netherlands in the women's World League final.

Olympic champions the Netherlands flexed their muscle in front of a packed 6000-strong crowd in hockey-mad Tucuman, Argentina after surprisingly trailing 1-0 at halftime.

The gap between the gold medallists and world No 5 Australia was exposed after the break as the Dutch scored twice in a minute to turn the match on its head then clinically put away their young rivals.

It denied the Hockeyroos side, which included Albion Park's Casey Eastham, the chance to claim their first major world title since the 2003 Champions Trophy. It was also the first global final they had contested since the 2009 Champions Trophy decider.

The drought may remain for a team that once dominated women's hockey, winning Olympic gold in 1988, 1996 and 2000, however Commens said his side had shown at the World League finals they were again a contender.

"We're now among the top teams in the world," he said of the Hockeyroos who have finished fifth at the last three Olympics.

"Although the score might not have reflected it today, we're competitive with the best teams in the world and well placed going into the World Cup next year."

Australia were adopted as the locals' second team by cruising into the final with an unbeaten five-game run that featured 15 goals.

Australia were assured of crowd favouritism in the decider as the Argentina faithful sought revenge for the Dutch upsetting the world No 1 host nation in the semi-finals.

And they had plenty to cheer about when Anna Flanagan scored from a penalty corner in just the sixth minute, and the team maintained their advantage until halftime.

Commens best summed up what happened next.

"They scored a couple of freak goals which put us on the back foot," he said.

"We were then chasing the game which left gaps at the back which the Netherlands took advantage of."

Earlier, England claimed bronze when they upset Argentina in a penalty shootout after scores were 1-1 at fulltime. AAP

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