Despite being edged 2-1 by Australia in their final pool game, the New Zealand Men are guaranteed a chance to play for a medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
It was a typical trans-Tasman battle with both sides leaving everything out on the turf in an end-to-end encounter from start to finish.
World number one ranked Australia opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Jacob Whetton netted from a tight angle.
Trent Mitton doubled Australia’s advantage with a 57th minute field goal before the Kiwis pulled a goal back when Cory Bennett smashed home a reverse shot from a penalty corner deflection shortly before fulltime.
The result sees New Zealand finish second in Pool A with three wins and one loss, setting up a semi final match-up on Friday night against Pool B winners India.
Captain Arun Panchia said it was an extremely hard fought game but one that will help his side going into the semi finals.
“It’s not the result we wanted but I think we can take a lot out of the match, it was a very competitive game against a world class Aussie side so it’s good build up for the semis,” he said.
“Australia are ranked number one in the world and were favourites going in so for us to come away with a performance like that was pleasing.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge on Friday night and know what we have to do to book a place in the gold medal match.”
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New Zealand 1: (Cory Bennett 59’)
Australia 2: (Jacob Whetton 20’, Trent Mitton 57’)
Halftime: Australia 1-0