Albion Park weapon Blake Govers scored a crucial drag flick to help propel the Kookaburras to an important 2-1 victory in their World Cup opener against Ireland over the weekend.
Govers opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a well-placed flick before the 10th ranked nation responded just two minutes later through Shane O’Donoghue.
Birthday boy Tim Brand then scored the decisive winner to help Australian kick off their title defence in style.
In the 34th minute, Brand capitalised after receiving a incisive pass from Corey Weyer to give the Kookaburras a winning 2-1 advantage in India.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better to celebrate my birthday,” Brand said.
Wollongong’s Flynn Ogilvie also played a part for Australia, but picked up a green card in the 19th minute.
Australia were dominant across the course of the match, with 16-3 shots, 28-5 circle penetrations and 6-1 penalty corners.
The Kookaburras will be back in back on Tuesday night where they will take on world number seven England.
“They’re always a tough opposition,” Brand, who turned 20, said.
“They’re a great team.
“They’re all quality. We’ll do our homework and hopefully get the win.”