HOCKEY: The Australian men’s hockey team were much improved in their second practice match, running out 5-2 winners over arch rivals Germany thanks to a double from Blake Govers and strikes from Jake Whetton, Eddie Ockenden and reserve athlete Jeremy Hayward.

The performance was a marked improvement on their 3-0 defeat to Argentina 24 hours earlier, played at a higher tempo with more energy and a customary Australia-Germany intensity.

The men in green and gold raced into a two goal lead, only to be pegged back by a typically resolute Germany before the first break. A goalless second period had the game delicately poised going into the final quarter of an hour, before three strikes in a feisty final period earned Australia victory.

“We want to get better every day,” said midfielder Eddie Ockenden, playing in his third Olympic Games. “It was a big improvement in attitude and also our skills. That was pleasing.

“We’ve never travelled 11 hours time difference so we didn’t really know how we’d be feeling. We want to get better every day, get over the jetlag, start training better and harder. And we’ll be looking for further improvement in our final practice game against Ireland on Wednesday.”

“It was a better performance tonight,” said coach Graham Reid. “We were asking for a bit more tone and energy from them. We started really well, which was one of the bigger things we were trying to do tonight because last night we started poorly.

“They were up and about today, which is good. But then we let Germany back in. I think we took our foot off the pedal and let them back in, then it was a much better final third.”

Australia’s third and final practice match is against Ireland on Wednesday before they face trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Saturday afternoon in Rio (Sunday 2:30am AEST).