Govers scores
Blake Govers was once again on target for the Kookaburras in their Pro League win over India. Image by HANDOUT/AAP
  • field Hockey

Govers fires, Kookaburras beat India in hockey thriller

Ian Chadband February 16, 2024

The Kookaburras have earned a magnificent comeback win in a thriller against hosts India, silencing the noisy home fans with a spectacular 6-4 victory in Bhubeneswar.

It completed a terrific day for Australia’s national hockey sides in the FIH Pro League on Thursday following the Hockeyroos’ businesslike 4-0 win over an outclassed US side at another Indian venue in Rourkela.

Blake Govers was at the centre of the men’s remarkable victory in yet another goal-laden contest between two teams who can’t seem to stop engaging in high-scoring duels.

The Aussie marksman not only launched an amazing match by scoring twice in just the first two minutes but, after India had roared back into a 4-2 lead, he then made key assists on two more goals as the Kookaburras recovered to keep their 100 per cent record intact after three games this season.

“It’s games like that where you kind of sit back and think why you love the game,” said Australia’s player of the match Aran Zalewski.

Greiner player of the match
 Rebecca Greiner was player of the match in the Hockeyroos’ 4-0 win over USA. Image by James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS 

“So much momentum for us, then for them, and then back to us. To be honest, I’m quite happy it finished on our side.”

In the biggest game yet of this season’s tournament, Govers was gifted the opening goal after just 65 seconds by Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak, who made a hash of defending his penalty corner, the ball deflecting off glove and both pads before trickling into the net.

But less than 40 seconds later, Govers’ second – for his 138th international goal – was quite unstoppable, crashing the ball home when freed in the circle by Jacob Anderson’s through ball from a swift counter-attack.

Govers almost landed a remarkable three-minute hat-trick when, from another penalty corner, Pathak redeemed himself with a fine save.

From there, India took control to score four times before the half-time break, including a brace from deadly corner taker Harmanpreet Singh.

But the Kookaburras gained traction after the break with Govers’ next penalty corner being neatly deflected home by Zalewski.

Govers’ neat reverse stick cross than allowed Lachie Sharp to bundle in the equaliser in the fourth quarter, before Anderson’s cool reverse stick finish put Australia ahead with just five minutes remaining.

Jack Welch sealed the comeback win by shooting into an unguarded net as India took off their keeper in a desperate bid to rescue the game.

The Kookaburras, who moved up to second in the table, next face their biggest test yet on Friday against league leaders the Netherlands.

Earlier in Rourkela, the Hockeyroos were always in command against a weary-looking US outfit as they went ahead through the excellent Alice Arnott in the seventh minute, with Maddison Brooks, player of the match Rebecca Greiner and Claire Colwill all getting on the scoresheet in a polished, professional display.

The Hockeyroos are now also second in the women’s table with four wins from six games, but the unbeaten Dutch are out of sight at the summit.