Hockey: All square as Stewart, 18, makes goal-scoring debut

Australia's Grace Stewart (behind) squaring off with Germany's Nina Hasselmann during the 1-1 draw in the opening match of the International Tri-Series tournament at Sengkang Stadium. Germany face world and Olympic champions the Netherlands today.
Australia's Grace Stewart (behind) squaring off with Germany's Nina Hasselmann during the 1-1 draw in the opening match of the International Tri-Series tournament at Sengkang Stadium. Germany face world and Olympic champions the Netherlands today.PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

It was her maiden appearance in the gold and green at senior level and what an impression Grace Stewart made. Only 18, she scored Australia's only goal as the hockey powerhouses were held to a 1-1 draw by Germany in the opening match of the inaugural The Project Group (TPG) International Tri-Series tournament at Sengkang Stadium last night.

Stewart, who has just moved from New South Wales to Perth, where the world No. 3 Hockeyroos are based, said: "It was pretty exciting (to make my international debut), and scoring the goal just topped it off."

The Australians enjoyed the lion's share of the ball but were unable to take greater advantage due to mistakes at penalty corners.

Assistant coach Jason Duff said: "We need to work on our ability to finish the play off, to put the ball away."

Germany's Julia Mueller evened the score with a well-executed finish from a penalty corner in the second quarter. But the world's eighth-ranked team struggled to string their passes together in the first half. Despite rallying in the fourth and carving out several clear-cut chances, they were unable to convert them.

Head coach Jamilon Mulders said: "We started bad, but played much better (in the second half). We created good chances and played through the pressure."

Both teams vowed to up their game when they take on world and Olympic champions the Netherlands - the third team in the triangular - later in the week.

Australia's captain for the day Jodie Kenny said: "It's going to be a very difficult challenge, it's always very hard against the Dutch."

Agreed Germany's captain Nina Hasselmann: "They play with more power (than the Australians). They have better strikers. We have to watch our own game."

Germany play the Netherlands this evening at 7pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2016, with the headline 'All square as Stewart, 18, makes goal-scoring debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe