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Aussies storm into hockey final

Australia gave a few field hockey lessons to New Zealand as they stormed into a fourth successive Commonwealth Games final with a thumping 6-2 victory.

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The world champions will meet the winners of the second semi-final between India and England in the title-clash on Thursday.

Simon Orchard and Glenn Turner scored two goals apiece to fashion an impressive victory for the three-time champions at the sun-baked Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

Australian defender Luke Doerner said the team were now aiming for a fourth Games gold.

“New Zealand are a tough team, so the scoreline is a bit flattering,” said the 31-year-old. “We expected them to come hard at us. They did score two quick goals in the second half but we came off well as a unit in the end.”

Australia coach Ric Charlesworth said it would be an achievement for his team to go back with a medal from the Games.

“In this heat if you rotate them any more, the players just get dizzy and confused,” he said.

“Someone’s going to win the marathon here in the heat in just over two hours. But in our tournament, by the end it’s seven-plus hours of slogging away in the heat to win, so it’s a very well-earned medal.”

The teams appeared evenly-matched as the game started, but Australia asserted their dominance soon, forcing three quick penalty-corners but each was saved superbly by Kiwi custodian Kyle Pontifex.

Australia were not to be denied for long though, with mid-fielder Orchard slamming home in the 25th minute to give the defending champions a 1-0 lead.

Turner made it 2-0 three minutes later when he ran in from the left to unleash a ferocious drive into the net.

Striker Jason Wilson then latched on to a pass from Turner in the 31st to seal a 3-0 half-time scoreline for the world beaters.

The second-half saw the Aussies take a 4-0 lead through forward Des Abbott who scored a field goal in the 43rd.

The Black Sticks, who had cooled down in ice-vests during the breather, rallied to pump in two goals inside 10 minutes through Blair Hilton and captain Phil Burrows.

But Australia surged ahead again, with Turner and Orchard hammering their second goals of the match to cap a miserable outing for the Kiwis.

Kiwi forward Hugo Inglis said he was unhappy with the umpiring.

“We fought them as good as we could but could not match them in the end,” he said. “We are not at all happy with the umpiring, it cost us a goal. But we can’t blame the umpires for our defeat.

“We got to move on and focus on our next match.”

New Zealand, whose best performance at the Games has been the silver they bagged in 2002 in Manchester, will now play for the bronze medal play-off with the losers of the second semi-final.

Australia have not lost a game in the Commonwealth Games since hockey was introduced in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.