AUSTRALIA’s women cruised into the final of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with a 7-1 win over South Africa.
Australia’s Georgina Parker and Kellie White got two goals each, with Georgia Nanscawen, Brooke Peris and Jane Claxton adding to the tally.
Celia Evans scored for South Africa, ensuring her team has scored in every game they have played in the tournament.
Perhaps more significantly though, this was the first goal conceded by the Hockeyroos in the games.
It was very much a game of two halves for South Africa, whose defence suffered a catastrophic collapse in the second half, overwhelmed by the Australian offensive.
South Africa had started brightly over-coming two early penalty corners and launching constructive attacks, Tarryn Bright linking with Sulette Damons and Kathleen Turner.
But a slick through-ball from Australia’s Peris, was picked up by Smith who slapped to the bottom left corner to open the scoring on 17 minutes.
Nicolene Terblanche surged forward for South Africa winning a penalty corner in reply, but the slapped shot from Lisa-Marie Deetlefs went into the body of the already-prone Australian goalkeeper, Rachel Lynch.
Australia typically countered at pace, Georgia Nanscawen struck the ball from the edge of the circle and Kellie White, lurking at the far past, deflected home for their second.
South Africa’s Dirkie Chamberlain was involved in a goal-mouth scramble but her appeals for a penalty corner, claiming a foot in the circle, went unanswered by the umpire.
A penalty corner awarded to South Africa soon after was over-turned by a successful team referral from Australia.
At the other end, Lenise Marais brilliantly deflected a Jodie Kenny penalty corner effort away and South Africa won another penalty corner before the break, but replicated the Deetlef slap and Lynch was down early to smother.
Australia began the second half with intent, White got her second goal after dispossessing Quanita Bobbs on her 23-metre line, and running unimpeded into the circle.
With South African defender Terblanche on the bench from a green card, Australia capitalised on the overlap.
The fourth goal soon followed, Nanscawen passing to Georgie Parker who hammered it into the net from close range.
With the African defence in disarray, Claxton added number five at the far post from a Peris cross.
South Africa mustered a reply after Shelley Russell’s one-handed touch diverted the ball into the path of Damons, who showed marker Edwina Bone a clean pair of heels, shot to the far post and Celia Evans knocked it home on 53 minutes.
Parker’s second came four minutes later, slipping the ball under Anelle Van Deventer’s pads at the near post.
The seventh Australian goal came from the hard-working Nanscawen, attacking the circle, her team-mates drew their markers away allowing her free entry to slam the ball home, with just three minutes left to play.
Speaking after the game, South African midfielder Tarryn Bright, said: “I thought the first half we were pretty competitive and let in some soft goals in the second half.
“We need to be better at defending our own circle.
“We didn’t manage to keep the ball for long enough and gave it away too easily which allowed them chances to attack.”
Australian forward Georgia Nanscawen, said the squad had worked hard to create intuitive link up play between the forwards which had shown results in today’s game, of which she said: “I think we are really proud of our performance.
“Our last few matches against South Africa have been really really tight.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and if we stuck to our game plan – to smother and counter – we would be able to run over the top.”