Hockeyroos hold firm to post convincing 2-0 victory over Argentina

Hannah Cullum-Sanders celebrates her maiden goal for the Hockeyroos in the 2-0 win over Argentina.

Hannah Cullum-Sanders celebrates her maiden goal for the Hockeyroos in the 2-0 win over Argentina. Photo: AAP

The Hockeyroos have jumped to within three points of top spot on the FIH Pro League standings with an impressive 2-0 victory over Argentina in Hobart.

The locals came to support local Maddison Brooks, who debuted alongside Abigail Wilson, and there was a raucous cheer when Brooks took the field in the fifth minute.

In a game of firsts, excitement machine Hannah Cullum-Sanders opened the scoring with an exquisite first-time finish in just the second minute – her first international goal after 11 appearances.

Australia thought it had doubled the advantage before quarter-time but Amy Lawton saw her effort disallowed.

But the hosts didn’t need to wait long with Renee Taylor flicking above the keeper’s right shoulder to make it 2-0 after 18 minutes.

Australia was then denied consecutive penalty corners by the video referee on review, with Grace Young and Grace Stewart both luckless.

Their fortune sparked Argentina to lift to another gear and apply pressure on the Hockeyroos goal.

But goalkeeper Aleisha Power was superb and she was duly supported by saves on the goalline from Taylor and player-of-the-match Penny Squibb that maintained a two-goal buffer at the main break.

The world No.2-ranked visitors continued to press after the interval to find a way back into the match, but Power stood tall to deny all eight opposition setpieces and keep a clean sheet.

The home crowd were nearly brought to their feet in the final term as 18-year-old Brooks came close to turning home a waist-high cross from Stewart, before the home side closed out an important victory for the Pro League title aspirations.

Power said it was emotional to read the pre-game debut messages from the families of Brooks and Wilson.

“It’s always such a privilege to walk out with people playing their first game, or even their 100th or 200th, so it was really special, especially Maddi Brooks in her home state,” Power said.

“It was really cool to be a part of it and as well we had Abi Wilson almost scoring a goal on debut, so there was a lot of good vibes out there.”

Power was also stoked to register a clean sheet after returning from injury.

“I was really excited to get out there. I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a grind though. I’ve had a few niggles, I did my hamstring, so there has been a lot of rehabbing and getting fit again, but I feel very comfortable and like I’m on the same level that I was last year and was ready to go.”

The Hockeyroos return to action against the US on Wednesday at 5pm AEDT.

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