It was the familiar story of Australia hitting hard and fast as they swamped their Oceanic neighbours New Zealand 6-2 en route to the final of the men’s hockey competition in the 19th Commonwealth Games here Tuesday.

The Aussies, gold medal winners in the previous three editions, will meet the winners of the second semifinal between India and England.

There was an element of luck in the Australian victory with the Kiwis committing unpardonable blunders, both in attack and defence.

The superiority of the World champions, who led 3-0 at half-time, was beyond doubt as they played at a higher level for most part of the 70 minutes, allowing the Kiwis little respite.

The match turned irrevocably Australia{gt}s way when they struck thrice in a six-minute spell late in the first-half through Simon Orchard (25th), Glenn Turner (28th) and Jason Wilkson (31st). Immediately on re-start, Des Abbott (43rd) made it 4-0.

The Kiwis then enjoyed their best moments in the game when Blair Hilton (51st) and Phil Burrows (60th) struck to reduce the deficit, but the Australians hit back with two goals from Turner (67th) and Orchard (70th) to seal the issue.

“It could well have been New Zealand playing the final on Thursday had they put away the chances they received,” commented Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.

New Zealand captain Phil Burrows agreed and opined that the first-half misses in particular hurt his team far more than just the six goals they conceded.

“You can’t miss chances against a team like Australia and this is something we had spoken about before the game. (Simon) Child had two good chances before the Aussies scored. He should have put them away, but didn{gt}t and then we let in four goals,” summed up Burrows.

Child first failed to get to a deflection with goalkeeper Nathan Burgers out of position and soon after, shot straight at the custodian when he had a better angle.

That was the reprieve the Australians were waiting for and they swooped down on the Kiwi goal to hammer thrice in a six-minute spell before half-time and take the game away from their opponents.

“It was a tough game and in difficult conditions. They (New Zealand) did a few things differently. We lapsed a bit after going 4-0 up. It is not easy to be consistent throughout the 70 minutes and they put in two goals,” said Charlesworth.

Earlier, Wales whipped Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 in a classification game to finish ninth in the competition.

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