A first international goal from Shanea Tonkin has kept the Hockeyroos undefeated in the Trans-Tasman Series as they drew 1-1 with New Zealand in the penultimate match in Auckland.
Tonkin struck on the stroke of halftime after Alia Jacques handed the Black Sticks a sixth minute lead.
Hannah Cullum-Sanders sent an early warning sign to the Black Sticks with a purposeful run into the attacking circle but the 18-year-old could not get her shot on target.
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With the Black Sticks players also pushing their claims for World Cup and Commonwealth Games selection, the home side went ahead when they picked apart the Hockeyroos defence, Jacques managing to bundle the ball over the line from a close-range deflection.
The Hockeyroos won their first penalty corner of the match five minutes before halftime, Maddy Fitzpatrick’s drag flick saved by New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon.
Then just before the main break Kershaw found Mariah Williams with a pass in the attacking circle, the striker hammering a powerful effort off the back foot and Tonkin produced a classy deflection, giving O’Hanlon no chance.
Both sides created decent chances in the second half, Karri Somerville proving solid in the Hockeyroos defence with some crucial intercepts.
Goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram was required to keep her nerve to diffuse a threatening Black Sticks opportunity when the home side had a two-on-one situation in the circle, keeping the Hockeyroos on level terms.
The Hockeyroos were forced to defend the Black Sticks’ first penalty corner of the match in the last play of the game which they did successfully to make it six draws from the teams’ past 11 meetings.
“It was really special and meant a lot … it has taken me a long time to get to this point,” Tonkin said.
“In every game we have found areas that we need to improve on and I think we have stepped up with each game we have played.”