IT WAS a double whammy for Australian Mens Hockey team captain Kieran Govers in the team's second match at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Australia defeated South Africa 6-0 and Govers scored his 50th goal representing Australia.
Australian men's hockey co-coach Paul Gaudoin has challenged his side to improve on their conversion rate despite beating South Africa 6-0 in their second match at the Commonwealth Games, two days after a 7-1 win over Wales.
Doubles from Trent Mitton and Kieran Govers, including the latter's 50th goal for Australia, and strikes by Chris Ciriello and Simon Orchard took the Aussie men to victory and to the top of Pool A, ahead of India on goal difference with two preliminary matches remaining.
Gaudoin, who is sharing coaching responsibilities with Graham Reid following Ric Charlesworth's decision to finish up ahead of the Games, said after Australia's win, "We're just trying to play good hockey at the moment. It's always going to be a grind early on in the tournament. We're doing things we're trying to do, we're working on them but we're not quite there yet.
"Having said that, I think we completely dominated the game today. They had one or two chances at the most and we had umpteen so we've got to be better in our attacking third. We've got to get some quality in there versus pure quantity. I think that'll be the focus."
Western Australian Trent Mitton, whose father and grandfather both played for Australia, opened the scoring in the eighth minute after Kieran Govers and Matt Gohdes had gone close in the early stages. Mitton's upright reverse stick strike went through a host of bodies to cross the line and quarter of an hour later he made it 2-0. With sublime trickery, the 23 year-old burst into the circle and moved the ball through his legs on the run before firing home to double his and Australia's tally.
With ten minutes of the half remaining there was a lengthy delay when Chris Ciriello's penalty corner flick hit South African Tim Drummond on the head on the goal line. Drummond went off although would return for the second period and Ciriello stepped up to slot home the resultant penalty stroke for 3-0.
In similar circumstances Kieran Govers then hit Andrew Cronje in the side of the head from a penalty corner five minutes after half time with the South African leaving the field for treatment before returning later.
In the 42nd minute Australia were reduced to ten men when Mitton was shown a yellow card - the first of his international career - but it didn't seem to hamper the men in gold who scored twice while he was off the pitch. First, Simon Orchard showed exquisite skill to take down a high ball after good work by Matt Gohdes along the baseline before firing inside the near post and four minutes later Govers netted his 50th goal for Australia, placing a penalty corner low into the bottom right for 5-0.
Soon after, South African Lloyd Norris-Jones rattled Andrew Charter's crossbar with a ferocious slap shot but the Australian goal remained intact. At the other end, Erasmus Pieterse pulled off a string of saves to deny Kiel Brown and then, in quick succession, Tristan White and Jake Whetton.
With just over five minutes remaining the goalkeeper also got a glove to Kieran Govers' low shot on the reverse but he couldn't keep it out as the ball went in off the far post for 6-0.
Speaking about his 50th goal for Australia, Kieran Govers said, "Unbelievable! It's always a thing in the back of your mind that you want to reach but I should have had a couple more. I didn't flick too well today but two goals is still a good achievement in the Commonwealth Games and hopefully I can get some more in the games to come."
Answering questions about the shot that hit Cronje on the head, he added, "It's just part of the game. Chris' one was on the line and mine was missing by about a metre so I was pretty disappointed. Even though it was missing, to hit another player is a bit frustrating and obviously you don't mean to hurt anyone. But it happens. I spoke to him just then [after the match] and he's fine so it's all good."
MATCH REPORT | GLASGOW 2014 COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Australia (m) v South Africa
Commonwealth Games, Glasgow
AUSTRALIA: 6 (3)
Trent Mitton 8, 24 (FG, FG)
Chris Ciriello 27 (PS)
Simon Orchard 46 (FG)
Kieran Govers 48, 64 (PC. FG)
SOUTH AFRICA: 0 (0)
Australia's men face India, the 2010 silver medallists, in their third Pool A clash at 2pm BST (11pm AEST / 9pm AWST) on Tuesday.
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