The inaugural 2011 Lanco International Super Series (LISS), which spanned over 4 days and included 15 matches, culminated with Australia taking on New Zealand in the Men’s final and India playing Australia in the Women’s final.
In what was a hugely successful event that featured the first FIH sanctioned 9-a-side International Tournament, it coincided with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which is also being held in Perth, Western Australia.
Photo: Players take the field amid a haze of smoke and lights to the booming sounds of the intro music and excited crowd
In total, 67 goals were scored across the 15 matches played at the LISS – averaging 4.47 per game in only 30 minutes of play in this shortened format. 44 goals were scored in the men’s competition (ave of 5.50 per game) and 23 in the women’s (ave 3.28 per game). The new rules made for fast end-to-end action, more responsibility for the goal keepers to keep the ball in play, and the Risk : Reward ratio has changed, as was evident with teams encourage to invest in goals as protecting a 1 goal lead proved to be extremely difficult. The format of the tournament is explained in full here for those who missed the build up to this new tournament.
Photo: Alex Shaw of New Zealand, showing a clean set of heals to the Indian defence
The biggest standout of the LISS was the performance of the Australian Men’s Team, who adjusted to the openness and speed of the tournament the best. Scoring a total of 19 goals in 4 games, they averaged 4.75 goals for, which is the best return by a long way of all teams, and only conceded 7 goals against for the entire tournament (ave 1.75 against per game). The way in which they embraced the speed of the matches, new Short and Long Corner interpretations and rolling bench made it very difficult for New Zealand, Pakistan and India. Their midfield power was obvious, often leaving the opposition looking stagnant. They consistently strangled their opponents of possession and seldom gave them time to restructure and compose themselves by playing at a breakneck pace.
Photo: Australia’s Kiel Brown is fast becoming one of the world best utility players with his defence and run off the backline
Surprisingly, Pakistan and India struggled with the 9-a-side structure and openness. Based on their traditional approach to the standard format of the game – endless attack, fantastic individual skill and a hunger for goals – they somewhat under performed throughout. Often both teams lacked discipline and structure, sacrificing fluidity of play for one dimensioned “one-out” play. They attacked one out too often, leaving far to many players in their back half as they progressed forward. Instead of using the space in the midfield to play in numbers both around and in behind their opposition, they looked to hit long on every opportunity possible to their sole high striker, making it easy for the opponents cover defence to intercept and launch their own counter attack. The leading of both teams was not at the level of their great teams of the past as their strikers seldom made space for themselves or their teammates. Overall, they did not invest in scoring enough goals to threaten the potent Australians.
Photo: Blackstick Stephen Jenness, a sharp shooter in every sense of the word
New Zealand will be pleased with their performance at the LISS, as they choose a youthful team with varying experience and were somewhat undermanned – playing only 14 players each match when 18 were allowed. Gryphon ambassador Stephen Jenness impressed over the four days and showed class in front of net, scoring several times for the Blacksticks. He was a real threat and is undoubtably one to watch in the future. Given the return of several of their big name players for future tournaments, they will certainly become worthy challenges.
Photo: Australia’s Jodie Schulz’s defence and penetrating passing was a highlight of the Hockeyroo’s campaign
In the women’s draw, this is a format that will reward the highly skilled teams the most. The Australian women were undoubtedly the strongest of the three participating teams, but did struggle with keeping their fluidity in the open spaces and their finishing was not as clinical as they would have liked. If this format gains traction around the globe, which it will, women’s teams like the attacking Argentinians and skilful Dutch will dominate, along with New Zealand which has some of the quickest midfielders and forwards in the world game at the moment. The Australian’s will be better for the experience and will learn quickly that efficiency in front of net is key. This format will also unearth some exciting new talent from all countries, something we here at Gryphon are extremely excited about given our support of some outstanding next generation talent globally.
G-Team ambassadors were out in force throughout the tournament, featuring Australians Kiel Brown, Mark Paterson (pictured at the top of the page), Tristan Clemons and Jodie Schulz along with New Zealander live-wires Stephen Jenness and Alex Shaw. Their ability all over the park was impressive, showcasing the best equipment that Gryphon has to offer. Keep an eye of these players as they are all very young and big things will surely come their way in future seasons.
Photo: Australian’s Tristan Clemons and Kiel Brown share a joke during the medal presentations on day 4
The hype leading into this tournament was justified as the teams delivered on field and the organisers were true to their word off it. The set up of the facility was world class, as was the telecasts courtesy of ABC1. All matches can be viewed in full here. The format may be tweaked slightly for future events, but they are definitely onto a good thing here, so much so that it is expected to gain popularity around the world as a side show to the traditional form of the game.
Congratulations to all involved. Full results below.
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Match Day 1 Results
Women: Malaysia 1 : 3 India | Australia 2 – 1 Malaysia
Men: Australia 3 : 2 PAkistan | New Zealand 6 – 3 India
Match Day 2 Results
Women: Malaysia 0 – 2 Australia | Australia 1 – 1 India
Men: Australia 7 – 1 New Zealand | Pakistan 1 – 1 India
Match Day 3 Results
Women: Malaysia 1 -1 India | Australia 3 – 2 India
Men: Pakistan 1 – 1 New Zealand | Australia 4 -1 India
Match Day 4 Results
Women’s Gold Medal Game: Australia 4 – 1 India
Men’s Bronze Medal Game: Pakistan 4 – 1 India
Men’s Gold Medal Game: Australia 5 – 3 New Zealand
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ALL PHOTOS (C) GRYPHON HOCKEY | DCIMAGES: Daniel Carson | DCIMAGES.ORG