Team GB’s women began their first ever Olympic campaign with a narrow 7-6 defeat to Russia and were hoping to secure their first win of London 2012 against the bronze medallists from Beijing.
But the Australians proved too strong for the inexperienced Brits as they thumped the home side and secured a comfortable 16-3 win.
Team GB suffered from a slow start to the game as the Aussies hit three unanswered goals before Chloe Wilcox finished a great team move to open her side’s account.
After the first period ended 3-1, Australia hit another three before 25-year-old Wilcox added her second to see the sides enter the half-way stage at 6-2.
Australia opened the scoring in the third quarter before a foul against Lisa Gibson allowed New Zealand-born Frankie Painter-Snell to dispatch the resulting penalty with ease.
After a Ciara Gibson-Byrne effort was controversially ruled out, Australia’s highly-rated Ash Southern secured her hat-trick before a missed penalty from Fran Clayton compounded her side’s misery.
All eight teams from the two groups will enter the knockout round but the Brits face Italy in their penultimate game on Friday, knowing a win will help them secure a more favourable draw.
Britain coach Szilveszter Fekete admits he doesn’t know which version of his team will turn up in their final group game against Italy on Friday as they chase Olympic success in home water.
“I hope it’s the one we saw against Russia. I think the joy was far too big after that match (against Russia) and we took away our edge.
“The concentration levels were definitely lower today. We missed a couple of extra-man chances in the beginning and had we scored from them, it might have been a different match.”
“The Australians play their tough, physical game if it's allowed.
“It's a shame that we are at the Olympic Games and we have referees here who simply don't know the rules. At least, it was my impression after they made calls not even the experts could follow.
“Our team is more fragile than the others, so a bad day combined with bad refereeing gives the worst outcome.
“I wouldn't say we would have won, but we would have had a chance of a more balanced match.”