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Friday, November 15 2019 @ 11:07 pm ACDT

Hawks take third place…just

International Cup 2014
The New Zealand Hawks have finished third at IC14 after beating South Africa Lions by one point in the third place playoff. The match went down to the wire, with a point scored by Andrew Howison enough to have NZ hold on for the win.
 
On a glorious sunny afternoon at Royal Park South Africa looked the better side through much of the match but the win for New Zealand showed that they are still a force in International footy and not ready to concede to the rapidly improving Lions just yet.
South Africa started well kicking the first goal of the match, snapped from the pocket. Unfortunately their great looking footy jumpers had one vital flaw and that is the ability to read the numbers from a distance due to lack of contrast. So I cannot say who it was that kicked it.
 
NZ responded when Justin Clark marked and goaled from the set shot 20m out.
 
Baker-Thomas showed why he is such an exciting prospect for St Kilda as he kicked 65 metres into Chris Mundell on the lead at full forward. Unfortunately his set shot missed but shortly after he was again marking out front and he added NZ’s second goal for the quarter.
 
South Africa hit back right on the siren, with Sobetwa marking over the pack and slotting the goal after the siren sounded. It was a two point lead to New Zealand at quarter time.
 
In a tight second quarter South Africa managed to eke out two goals with Sikiti looking particularly dangerous. Ben Miller was winning the ball across the half forward line but two kicks going wide and out of bounds on the full proved wasteful. Mundell for the Hawks took a big grab to keep NZ in touch after he converted successfully. At half time the South Africa were out to a five point lead .
 
If the second quarter was tight, the third was miserly with not a goal scored. The only scores being three behinds to South Africa, one kick to the right, one hit the post and one off the hands in the square. In what amounted to International kick to kick the half back lines dominated, but the tide seemed to be turning South Africa’s way as they regularly were playing in front and out marking the Hawks.
 
The crowd was abuzz at another potential upset win by South Africa after they knocked off PNG in round three. But with the last quarter underway New Zealand struck first, with Nick Fisher picking up a loose ball and kicking the goal on the run.
 
South Africa came back at them almost instantly with a long kick rolling through for a goal. Zwane in defence kept the Hawks at bay as they went forward again defending bravely. When South Africa kicked their fifth goal for the match and stretched their lead to 15 points it looked like they might run away with it.
 
But the New Zealand Hawks threw everything they had at South Africa and it was Sam McKenzie who took the ball off the pack at half forward, ran around multiple Lions defenders and goaled. Soon after he brought the margin back to just three points kicking the goal from a set shot. 
 
NZ were keeping the ball in their forward line but failing to make enough progress as they added a  behind  and then another as Justin Clark hit the post from a set shot. Then the scores levelled as the Kiwis added another minor score with the clock ticking down. If the siren sounded now the match would go into extra time with a golden point determining the result.
 
The deciding score came from NZ captain Andrew Howison who under pressure squeezed a kick on the run through for a behind. As the siren sounded there was a little uncertainty as the scoreboard had NZ in front by a point but the scoreboards during the tournament at times have been a little off. After a couple of minutes consultation the goal umpires waved the flags to concur with the scoreboard and NZ had escaped with third place. 
 
The Lions finishing fourth was probably ahead of where many might have seen them finish in the tournament but there is no doubt the deserved this position and came very close to finishing higher.
 
Both Ben Miller who broke his collarbone in the second half and Joe Baker-Thomas who was in a moon boot at the IC gala dinner that night were notable casualties of the clash that was played in great spirits.
 
New Zealand: 2.3 3.3 3.3 6.8 (44)
South Africa: 2.1 4.2 4.5 6.7 (43)
 
Goals
New Zealand: McKenzie 2, Mundel 2, Fisher, Clarke
South Africa: Moagi 2, Sobetwa 2, Zwane, Phakedi
 
Best
New Zealand: Boyce, Court, Howison, Harris, Gregson, Miller
South Africa: Zwane, Sobetwa, Sikiti, Moagi, Mongiam, Dlamini
 

Sam McKenzie runs around defenders to score vital goal.

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