National News

World No.1 Kookaburras eye Olympic tilt

Less than an hour after being crowned the inaugural champions of hockey's FIH Pro League, the Kookaburras were already looking toward the Tokyo Olympics.

Australia raced to a 3-0 half-time lead before holding off a Belgium comeback to win the Pro League final 3-2 at Amstelveen's Wagener Stadium on Sunday.

Shortly after their exhilarating victory, Kookaburras coach Colin Batch was already thinking about qualifying for the 2020 Olympics by winning the Oceania Cup in September.

"While the Pro League was fantastic to play in and we're very pleased to win it, Oceania Cup is the Olympic qualifier and it's a very important event for us," he told AAP.

"We need to do well against New Zealand, so that we have direct entry to the Olympics.

"That's our focus.

"We have a three-week break, the players deserve that, but we know we need to keep our conditioning ticking away."

Australia have won Olympic gold just once - in 2004 in Athens - and claimed silver on three occasions and bronze four times.

In Rio three eyars ago they could only manage sixth.

Australia's smash and grab style of swarming defence coupled with swift counter-attacks rattled Belgium in the opening stages of the Pro League decider.

But the world champion Belgians found their groove and began to play their own energy-sapping possession-based game as they pushed the Australians to their limit.

The Red Lions finished the match leading the shot count 10-8 and circle entries 27-15, with 20 of those coming the second half.

Batch commended the Kookaburras' ability to dig in but admitted they could have done more with the ball.

Killing off their games when they're ahead is something he plans to work on before the Oceania Cup.

"We are not a complete team," Batch said.

"We need to keep improving."

© AAP 2019