Kookaburras co-captain and 2018 Player of the Year Aran Zalewski has continued his good form with a Player of the Match display in his side’s 2-1 win over Spain.
Margaret River midfielder Zalewski led the Kookaburras to victory with a strong midfield display against the Spanish at Sydney’s Olympic Park in the FIH Pro League on Saturday.
Australia went ahead through Lachlan Sharp in the first half but Spain levelled before the break. Daniel Beale popped up for a last quarter winner for the Kookaburras.
Zalewski may not have been on the scoreboard, but he was adjudged best afield.
“It was certainly a great match,” Zalewski said. “Spain have had some good results so far in the Pro League. They pushed us all the way.
“We converted late in the game to make it 2-1, so we’re really happy with the result.”
The result sees the Kookaburras move up to second spot on the FIH Pro League standings after three consecutive wins.
“It was a bit of a tough start, drawing with Holland and losing to Belgium in the first weekend,” Zalewski said. “But we’ve turned the results around a bit.
“We’d still like to keep improving and getting better. Three wins in a row is great. We look forward to returning to Sydney in a couple of weeks.”
Starting his hockey career in Margaret River, Zalewski first represented Australia in a game against India in Bunbury in 2011.
Following that debut, Zalewski has achieved many highlights throughout his hockey career, including a gold medal in the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands, and later a gold medal in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In 2016 he won another gold medal in the London Champions Trophy and then represented Australia at the Rio Olympics.
Zalewski was named the Player of the Tournament at the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands, where Australia collected their 15th trophy victory and the Margaret River champion notched up his 150th game for Australia.
“Its a privilege every time I get to walk out in the green and gold, and I’m really proud that I’ve been able to do that 150 times for my country,” Zalewski said.
“I don’t think anyone imagines playing 150 games for their country, so to get to where I am today I am very proud, and so is my family.
“I’m so grateful to be here and it wouldn’t be without the help of so many people – coaches, friends, support staff, through all the different ranks. They go a long way to paving the path to getting where you are.”
The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras return to Sydney to play Argentina and New Zealand on Saturday-Sunday 16-17 March.