By Michael Nobbs
Well, we have played our first 9's game and no doubt you have seen it. It was a very good game from a spectacle point of view, far better than the first game Australia Vs Pakistan. We both had the same amount of shots at goal and circle penetrations. Their goalie played very well and I think at the end made all the difference in the score line where we lost to New Zealand 6-3.
The game tonight was umpired exceptionally badly. Rick Charlesworth was furious with the umpires as they let everything play on regardless of the rules. This did highlight the difference in physical strength between the two teams. Both Australia and NZ are a good 10-14 kilos heavier. We are of course working on this and time will fix it but it still highlights that we have a long way to go.
So basically our strength and tactics lets us down, we are still learning and it seems that we need to play it a little like indoor hockey whereby we need to eliminate a player and then attack at speed at their defence. As the game is played basically man to man our passes were either intercepted or at least contested and that led to turnovers.
In the previous game Pakistan bottled up the middle of the field and that led to Australia having limited chances. We may try some of those tactics tonight. If however the umpiring doesn't change then the Australian’s physical presence may make it difficult for us. On the first match result, Australia beat Pakistan 3-2.
(Michael Nobbs is the Indian men's hockey coach)