Hard & Fast: Black Sticks vs Korea Update

The Black Sticks men drew their first Test against Korea 3-3 and then thumped the Koreans last night 7-1 in Auckland.

Both Tests offered something slightly different for the kiwis as they continue to roll through their preparation for the Olympics. On Wednesday night the Black Sticks fell behind by three goals as Korea went about their slick game plan, pouncing on any loose touch and attacking at a rapid pace. 

The Black Sticks struggled to find any cohesion on attack before flicking a switch late in the game which saw them peg three goals back in the second half via Kane Russell, Nick Wilson and a last-second rocket from Blair Hilton. Peep the low key upright reverse pass from Nick Ross to set up the Hilton game-tier...

Last night's win had the Black Sticks looking far more settled in their attacking movements and most importantly their work without the ball. When Korea had the ball, it was the kiwis who put the pressure on and won a lot of turnovers thanks to their press, which not only created many attacking chances but also limited Korea's ability to quickly move the ball upfield.

Goals came via Simon Child x2, Stephen Jenness, Nic Woods, Nick Wilson and Kane Russell.

It's good to see the Black Sticks' key strikers getting in on the goal-scoring action as the likes of Child, Jenness and Wilson along with Hugo Inglis are all world-class and will be crucial come Olympic time. 

Also good to see the drag-flick options with Russell firing flicks and Woods also showing that he can be called on.

With constant changes to the playing group, it's hard to really gauge where the Black Sticks are at after those two games. They did however show the ability to adjust their game plan and how the put pressure on their opponents, which was done overnight and the clinical exeuction of these plans was very encouraging.

The last two Tests go down on Saturday and Sunday, get amongst it as they won't be shown on telly.