Australia Hits Back To Keep Division Alive
Australia has come from behind to defeat New Zealand in the Women’s Open game two by one touchdown, 4-3, to keep the series alive in the division.
After New Zealand shocked the hosts last night in game one of the Trans Tasman Test Series, it was up to the World Champions to step up to the challenge and try and tie the series. The result was another nail-biting match between the two teams with Australia winning 4-3 in a high quality match the sets up a decider to savour tomorrow.
Australia got the game going with a nice scoot into the in-goal but couldn't make the pass to score. New Zealand's Kristina Sue then replicated this in the Australian touchdown zone with the same no score result.
On their next visit to Aussie territory, the Touch Blacks' Morgan Morrow found herself in the middle of the field with defenders in good position; somehow she made her way through the line and put her team ahead.
Kelly Woods and Louise Winchester used their experience to organise their teammates and Australia looked dangerous although New Zealand managed to hold them out. Chyna Hohepa then stepped into the spotlight with a quick break down the side; the Aussie defence was up to the challenge.
Soon after Mere Nock combined with her vice-captain Megan Campbell to give the Touch Blacks a 2-0 lead. The advantage didn't last long with Emilee Cherry combining Ashleigh Quinlan to make it 2-1 after a nice long ball play.
Alicia Quirk then squared things up after Cherry again made the play with a long ball to the corner. Australia had reduced their error rate from game one and were up to the Kiwi challenge.
The next scoring play by New Zealand was one to savour as they moved the ball across the field with quick hands and found Marama Davis with room to spare and speed enough to cross untouched. The New Zealanders left the field with a 3-2 lead at half-time.
Australia stepped up as the second half began and Kristin Boss put the icing on the cake after some smart play. The New Zealand defenders were millimetres away from making the Touch but the Sydneysider got the score and a 3-all score.
With the scores level the two teams upped their intensity; Bianca Mounsey collided with Marama Davis and Boss and Chyna Hohepa also made contact in periods of desperate attack and defence.
Australia's defence on both wings was excellent tonight; they managed to shut New Zealand out on a number of occasions to keep the scores level. With this platform in place they made the crucial play – Nicole McHugh with quick hands to Louise Winchester for a 4-3 lead.
New Zealand kept trying for the win but Australia held them out and the scored remained 4-3, the reverse of last night's result. With two skilful and entertaining matches behind them, tomorrow's deciding encounter will be hotly anticipated.
The TFA YouTube channel has the highlights of the game - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iufiHbOnE88&list=UUNA2662hsW_18Wok5HHiMeg&index=2&feature=plcp
Australia - 4 (Kristin Boss, Ashleigh Quinlan, Alicia Quirk and Louise Winchester) defeated New Zealand - 3 (Megan Campbell, Marama Davis and Morgan Morrow)
Half-time: New Zealand 3 - Australia 2
Referees - Luke McKenzie, Michael Winter and Tony Arnel