Kookaburras, Hockeyroos qualify for Paris Olympics with Oceania Cup wins

Jack Welch scored for the Kookaburras, who have won their way to the Paris Olympics.

Jack Welch scored for the Kookaburras, who have won their way to the Paris Olympics. Photo: AAP

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos are confirmed for the Paris Olympics are securing Oceania Cup series wins over New Zealand.

The Australian men on Sunday became the first nation outside of France to qualify for next year’s Games with a 3-1 win over New Zealand.

That gave the Kookaburras a 2-1 series win over the Black Sticks.

Later on Sunday, the Hockeyroos also beat New Zealand 3-2 in Whangarei to wrap up the women’s series 2-0.

After the home team levelled the men’s series on Saturday, Australia took the early initiative in the decider with first-quarter goals to Ky Willott and Jeremy Hayward.

Hayden Phillips goalled for NZ in the second quarter and the Black Sticks kept the pressure on Australia, despite losing Sean Findlay to a yellow card in the third term.

That left them a man down until the start of the last quarter, but Australia could not capitalise as the hosts defended grimly.

Jack Welch goalled from a penalty corner in the 55th minute to ensure the win and Olympics qualification for the Tokyo Games silver medallists.

“I’m still riding the emotion from the game,” captain Aran Zalewski said post match.

“New Zealand had a lot of momentum coming into today. We had to fight to arrest that momentum back and the Black Sticks kept coming, so I’m really proud of the boys and how we managed to keep the scoreboard in our favour.”

New Zealand had to beat the Hockeyroos by three goals or more to claim an unlikely women’s series win.

They took off goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon at times during the game to have an extra outfield player and try to create more scoring chances.

NZ put the early pressure on Australia when a speculative Tarryn Davey ball from the edge of the attacking circle found the stick of Hockeyroos defender Hattie Shand and ended up in the back of the net in the fourth minute.

But Brooke Peris scored from a penalty corner in the second corner and Grace Stewart took full toll of O’Hanlon’s absence two minutes late to put Australia 2-1 ahead.

Courtney Schonell made it 3-1 after half-time with a rifled shot that beat O’Hanlon.

Hope Ralph scored for NZ five minutes later, but the Australians held on to claim game three and confirm the series win.

“We’re over the moon. I’m so proud of the girls … we played so deadly today,” Peris said.

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