The Kookaburras have secured an unassailable lead in their trans-Tasman series after winning the third match 4-2 against New Zealand on Sunday.
After convincing 3-0 and 3-1 victories in the opening two games, the Kookaburras made a fast start in front of a packed house in Palmerston North, going 2-0 up inside eight minutes.
Off a midfield turnover, Blake Govers produced a clever jink to an overlapping Jake Harvie and he found an unmarked Trent Mitton at the far post who guided the ball home.
A minute later Jeremy Hayward had his second goal in as many games with another powerful drag flick that slammed into the backboard.
FT | Four goals and a third straight win. Mitton, Hayward, Govers & Ephraums all hitting the scoreboard.
— Kookaburras (@Kookaburras) May 30, 2021
New Zealand had its first-half chance with four minutes to go in the first quarter before Leon Hayward was the only thing standing in the way of Lachlan Sharp making it 3-0.
Black Sticks drag flick specialist Kane Russell pegged a goal back for the hosts in the 20th minute. but the Kookaburras had to wait less than 60 seconds to restore their two-goal lead when Sharp won a penalty stroke that Govers duly converted.
The Black Sticks were afforded some respite when Sharp received a yellow card for foiling a counter attack and the Kookaburras were reduced to nine players when Tom Wickham also saw yellow.
Oliver MacIntyre took advantage to again strike from a penalty corner, leave it delicately poised 3-2 at half-time.
Young Victorian Nathan Ephraums scored his second Kookaburras goal and his second of the series with a classy behind the back deflection after Jeremy Hayward drilled a ball in after a penalty corner injection.
Hayward went low and left again with a penalty corner to start the last quarter but he could not convert as neither side was able to add anything further to the scoreline.
The fourth and final game of the series is on Tuesday.