Retiring Australian legend Mark Knowles enjoyed the perfect end to his career as the host nation beat New Zealand ©Getty Images

Retiring Australian legend Mark Knowles enjoyed the perfect end to his career as the host nation beat New Zealand to clinch their sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games men's hockey gold medal here today.

Knowles, the Olympic gold medallist who carried the Australian flag at the Gold Coast 2018 Opening Ceremony, captained his side to a 2-0 win over their arch-rivals on his 324th appearance for the national team.

The 34-year-old captain was given the chance to wrap up his career on the pitch in fitting fashion when Australia were awarded a penalty stroke late on.

But Knowles was unable to follow the script as he scooped his shot high and wide of the top right-hand corner.

The triumph for the men's team restored pride for the Australia after New Zealand claimed their first hockey title at the Games by thrashing the hosts 4-1 in the women's final.

Knowles, who made his debut for Australia in 2006, added a third gold medal to his extensive collection, which also includes two Olympic bronze, two Champions Trophies and the 2014 World Cup.

"It was a beautiful night, I couldn't have scripted it," Knowles said.

"The boys did so well and I am so proud.

"I looked up at the clock a couple of times after the stroke and thought the boys were going to back me up this time and they did.

"I feel completely at ease with my decision, I love playing hockey but I feel like it's the right time."

After a tense and nervy first quarter, Australia found their form in the second and scored twice to take the game away from New Zealand.

New Zealand comfortably beat Australia in the women's final ©Getty Images
New Zealand comfortably beat Australia in the women's final ©Getty Images

Five minutes into the second stanza, Aaron Kleinschmidt opened the scoring when he reacted quickest to a goalmouth scramble.

Australia ratcheted up the pressure a notch or two as they kept pressing forward and they doubled their lead shortly after as Matthew Dawson's penalty corner found the net via a deflection.

New Zealand did create chances but could not breach a resilient Australian defence as the hosts held out for a commanding win.

The players then rushed to Knowles once the final whistle blew to celebrate with their departing leader.

Australia have now won every men's gold medal in the sport since it was introduced onto the programme at Kuala Lumpur 1998.

The host nation's women had a similar record heading into their final with New Zealand as they had topped the podium at four of the five events to be held at the Games.

New Zealand arrived as slight favourites, however, and they soon went about dismantling the Australian side.

The Black Sticks took the lead through Shiloh Gloyn in the 28th minute when she smashed a shot beyond goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.

New Zealand then seized control of the encounter in the third period as penalty corner conversions from Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry put them 3-0 ahead.

Jodie Kenny's drag-flick gave Australia a glimmer of hope but it proved to be a fleeting moment of belief as Anita McLaren sealed their historic win four minutes from time.

England won both bronze medals as their women dispatched India 6-0 and the men beat the same opponents 2-1.