Australia’s Under 21 Women’s Team, the Jillaroos, have ended their international tri series with victory over India but fallen just short of claiming overall honours.
A double from Abby Wilson, who pays for NSW Pride in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League, gave the Jillaroos a 2-1 victory in a match that saw India equalise in the 53rd minute only for Wilson to score the winner with four minutes remaining.
The win on the final day of the tournament left the Jillaroos with two wins, a draw and a loss from their four matches and equal on points with India. However, India were declared winners due to their superior goal difference.
While the Jillaroos may have narrowly missed out on taking out the home tri series, the greatest benefit for the group was undoubtedly the opportunity to play a string of high intensity matches against two quality teams.
“The competition brought together three very evenly contested countries which was great, and to play it at home was a real thrill,” said Jillaroos Head Coach Tim White.
“I don’t think any of the girls had played for their country at any level before in Australia so they really enjoyed the chance to play in front of family and friends.
Reflecting on what the team set out to achieve at the start of the tournament, White said overall there were a number of pleasing signs.
“The expectations I have when we get together is that we connect well as a group and understand the style that we want to play and that we implement that and improve with every game,” White said.
“I really think we improved from our opening match to the last one. Our style of play got better and better as the tournament rolled on.”
“We put some things in place to measure and understand how we were tracking and the girls did a really good job in picking up what we were trying to do.”
“I think what it shows, even within the week that we had the players together, is the importance of these weeks and it absolutely showed there is some good progression being made at this level.
“It is really important at their local training environments at home and also any chance we get together that we continue to look for those development opportunities and increase our depth, which is ultimately the primary purpose of the junior program.”
The players will now have a well earned break before preparing for the national junior championships in mid February followed by four matches against Japan starting on 21 February, with these internationals to once again be played in Canberra.
8 December 2019
Australia 2 (Abby Wilson 15’/56’)
India 1 (Gagandeep Kaur 52’)
Jillaroos with it all to play for
The international Under 21 tri series in Canberra is set up for a thrilling finale after the Jillaroos defeated New Zealand in their penultimate match on Friday.
The Jillaroos (Australia’s Under 21 Women’s Hockey Team) avenged their opening day loss to the Kiwis with a dominant 3-1 win to leave them with a loss, draw and victory heading into their final match against India on Sunday.
Looking to rebound after New Zealand recorded a 3-1 win on the opening day of the series, captain Aisling Utri put the Jillaroos in front in the 19th minute courtesy of a goal in general play.
The goal was Utri’s second of the tournament and it was all that separated the teams at half time.
Ten minutes into the third quarter Alice Arnott pounced to double the advantage and put the Jillaroos in the box seat.
In the 53rd minute Olivia Shannon halved the deficit to give New Zealand a glimmer of hope but Jillaroos midfielder Phillipa Morgan put the result beyond doubt when she struck with three minutes to go to give the home side everything to play for against India on Sunday.
6 December 2019
New Zealand 1 (Olivia Shannon 53’)
Australia 3 (Aisling Utri 19’, Alice Arnott 40’, Phillipa Morgan 57’)
Jillaroos concede late to draw with India
The Jillaroos have drawn with India 1-1 in their second match of the international tri series in Canberra.
A 25th minute field goal from Courtney Schonell gave the Jillaroos the lead but a persistent India were awarded a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute which Gagandeep Kaur duly converted to leave the teams to share the spoils.
Reflecting post match, Jillaroos captain Aisling Utri said the signs are promising following the opening match against New Zealand which saw the Australians dominate but fail to convert on the scoreboard.
“We’ve been getting better and gelling as a team more with each match which is really encouraging considering we only had a couple of training sessions prior to the tri series starting,” said Utri.
“It has been about tweaking some minor things in order to try and get positive outcomes.
“The experience of playing quality international teams has been great. We’ve been learning a lot as individuals and as a team.”
5 December 2019
India 1 (Gagandeep Kaur 52’)
Australia 1 (Courtney Schonell 25’)
Jillaroos go down to Kiwis in series opener
The Jillaroos have opened the international tri series in Canberra with a 3-1 loss to New Zealand.
Despite periods of dominance and peppering the New Zealand goal, Australia’s Under 21 Women’s Hockey Team were made to pay by a clinical Kiwi outfit.
The visitors stormed out of the blocks and went ahead after just three minutes when Olivia Shannon found some space in the circle and directed her shot out of reach of Jillaroos goalkeeper Hannah Astbury.
The score remained 1-0 at half time before the Jillaroos came out with renewed vigour after the main interval, forcing the Kiwis to absorb sustained pressure.
However, the Australians found themselves on the end of a New Zealand sucker punch when Hope Ralph got the last touch on a Kiwi penalty corner to make it 2-0 early in the last quarter.
The Jillaroos’ urgency went up another gear and they deservedly pegged a goal back three minutes later when Aisling Utri produced a fine deflection from a penalty corner.
But any thoughts of a stirring Jillaroos fightback were short lived as Ralph scored her second within the space of five frantic minutes to make it 3-1 with eight minutes to go.
A late Jillaroos barrage would amount to nothing as New Zealand goalkeeper Saassha Marsters kept the Australians at bay to give the Kiwis the points.
3 December 2019
Australia 1 (Aisling Utri 50’)
New Zealand 3 (Olivia Shannon 3’, Hope Ralph 47’/52’)