The Hockeyroos were given an indication of what it will take to reach the top of women’s hockey after the Netherlands recorded a 7-2 victory in the teams’ FIH Pro League match in Eindhoven.
Rosie Malone struck twice for the Hockeyroos but the Netherlands demonstrated why they are ranked number one in the world with a clinical display.
Yibbi Jansen scored a hat-trick for the hosts as she proved lethal from penalty corners.
Despite the lopsided score line, there were plenty of encouraging signs for a Hockeyroos team that continues to grow and improve.
The Hockeyroos made a blistering start as they went ahead inside four minutes. A brilliant flick from Rebecca Greiner opened the door for Brooke Peris to fire on goal and Malone swooped in to get the final touch on its way into the backboard.
Hockeyroos goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram made a comfortable save from Maria Verschoor in the Netherlands’ first real opportunity.
It was an ominous warning sign though as the world’s number one ranked team took control on their home pitch.
Jansen equalised from the Netherlands’ first penalty corner in the 12th minute before they asserted their ascendancy in the second quarter.
A penalty stroke allowed Frédérique Matla to put the Dutch in front. Then another penalty corner saw Jansen strike again before Pien Dicke scored the first of her two goals to make it 4-1 at half time.
The Hockeyroos returned from the break with renewed vigour as they started to put more pressure on the Dutch.
The Australians won their first penalty corner of the match in the 36th minute but Penny Squibb could not direct her low drag flick on target.
Malone cut the deficit to two in the 40th minute when she instinctively knocked in a superb assist from Courtney Schonell.
A brilliant save from Bartram kept out another Dutch goal bound drag flick to keep the Hockeyroos’ hopes alive and they went close to pegging another goal back when a stinging tomahawk from Peris was just kept out by substitute goalkeeper Josine Koning in the opening minute of the last quarter.
But another Dutch penalty corner spelt trouble again. Jansen’s drag flick was deflected by Dicke and Bartram did well to keep it out, however Dicke managed to knock the ball in from waist height on the rebound.
Matla scored her second a minute later and despite two superb saves from Bartram to keep the margin from extending further, Jansen would seal the result with her third nearing full time.
“The first quarter was good…we came out really hard and put it to them in the opening 15 minutes,” said Malone.
“There are obviously things we need to work on and the Dutch are really clinical in their penalty corner attack, but we had some great passages of play.
“Overall, it’s positive the way that we’re building and we’re not going to let that score line happen on Sunday.”
“Our improvement will come from being really strong on the ball and moving the ball quickly in and out of the middle.”
“The Dutch are very good at closing down the space and we probably needed to move the ball on quicker.”
The Hockeyroos and Netherlands will meet again at 11.10pm AEST on Sunday.
The FIH Pro League matches will be broadcast LIVE on FOX Sports and Kayo.
Netherlands 7 (Jansen 12’/22’/58’, Matla 16’/49’, Dicke 29’/48’)
Hockeyroos 2 (Malone 4’/40’)
@ Oranje-Rood Stadium, Eindhoven
Hockeyroos: 1.Claire Colwill, 2.Rosie Malone, 3.Brooke Peris, 4.Amy Lawton, 5.Grace Young, 6.Penny Squibb, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 13.Hattie Shand, 14.Stephanie Kershaw, 15.Kailtin Nobbs, 16.Courtney Schonell, 18.Jane Claxton (c), 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 22.Tatum Stewart, 29.Rebecca Greiner, 35.Maddison Brooks, 44.Abby Wilson
Unused substitute: 7.Aleisha Power (gk)