Kookaburras edge NZ, top Games pool

The Kookaburras have clinched top spot in their Commonwealth Games pool with a strong 2-1 win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in their final group match.

The result lifts them past the Black Sticks in pool A and sets up a semi-final clash against either England or India depending on the result of their fixture later on Wednesday.

The gold medal favourites were on track to make it a perfect four wins in as many games thanks to some early brilliance from Jake Whetton.

After a closely fought opening to the game, New Zealand actually had a prime opportunity to draw first blood but Hugo Inglis missed from point blank range in the 19th minute.

Whetton then burst to the byline moments later with a free hit and flicked over the inside shoulder of goalkeeper Richard Joyce on the tightest of angles.

"I just saw Joyce just go down a little bit and opened up a bit of an angle there," Whetton told AAP.

"He's really good with his stick. He made a fabulous save of one of our shots at goal and I thought if I put it across there, he'd probably get a stick to it.

"I've practiced that at home. If you ask the coaches, they say they get annoyed at me for doing it but when it comes off, it's not so bad."

The contest stretched in the final period as the world No.9 Kiwis searched for an equaliser. However Mitton squeezed home a cross in the closing minutes to give his team some breathing space.

New Zealand pulled their goalkeeper in a final throw of the dice and the move paid off, with Cory Bennett scoring in the 59th minute to set up a grandstand finish.

But the Kookaburras held on and remain on track for an unprecedented sixth straight gold.

New Zealand gun Kane Russell, who leads the tournament in goals with six, had two looks from the penalty corner in the third quarter but failed to find the back of the net.

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