"Yesterday it was character, today it was character again," said Hector Smith, Fiji Men's head coach after their nail-biting win over Australian Country Men. "The boys stuck to their guns. We had a plan and it came out. We had a few position changes and I think it worked for us."
"Both Steve (Campbell- assistant head coach) and myself had a really good strategy together,"said Jaitinda Singh, Australian Country head coach. "We were expecting what the Fijian boys were going to do. Our grand game-plan was good, it was just a matter of finishing and outcome."
It was an aggressive game and the pace of the game kept everyone on the edge of their seats.
Fiji took an early lead with a goal to Terence Corriel in the 26th minute. They managed to shut out the Australian Country for the rest of the first half.
But the Australian Country Men were tenacious, continuously probing around the edges of the Fiji defence and this strategy finally paid off with a goal to Joshua Gregory in the 53rd minute.
The scores stayed 1-1 till full-time. The match went into penalty strokes which proved difficult since both teams had exceptionally skilled goalies (Nathan Doherty (AC) & Manoa Niumata (FJ)). However Fiji came on top with 3 of their strokes hitting the back of the net to New Zealand’s 1.
Smith reiterated how focused his boys were. "Losing was never an option. We hope we did the country proud."
Now their goal of winning gold this year is within reach. "It's evaded us for 4 years. Hopefully the boys are couple years older and wiser. They understand responsibility, they're a very disciplined bunch and I can't ask for a better bunch of players."
Australian Country are hoping to meet Fiji again later in the finals playoffs but first have a tough match against the New Zealand Maori team tomorrow.
"I think the Fijians played really well," said Singh. "I got to give them credit for that but I hope we get a chance to play again and we’ll show you some hockey magic."
Last Modified on 26/12/2012 10:21