Sport

Hockeyroos prepare to take on USA

Queensland’s Jordyn Holzberger says the Hockeyroos have been working hard to recapture the glory days.
Queensland’s Jordyn Holzberger says the Hockeyroos have been working hard to recapture the glory days. CONTRIBUTED

SHE hopes to be one of the faces of the Hockeyroos' resurgence.

As the once-mighty Australian team prepares to take on the US in a three-match series, which starts tomorrow at Buderim's Ballinger Park, there will be much interest in the performance of teenage striker Jordyn Holzberger.

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Holzberger, who hails from Ipswich but trains at the Australian Institute of Sport in Perth, says the team has been working hard to recapture the glory days.

The 18-year-old made her senior debut against Korea as an injury replacement and backed up against Argentina.

Her strong performances in those games have enhanced her chances of booking a spot for London, but she still considers herself a long shot.

"Hopefully, I can play well and get another couple of tours (to push my claims)," she said yesterday after touching down on the Coast.

"I think every match you get to play for Australia is another opportunity to show what you've got.

"Hopefully, I can make the most of it.

"At the moment it's really competitive. We have a really strong base of girls and everyone is fighting for a spot … everyone is hoping to get into medal contention this time around and reclaim the fame that we had at the 2000 Olympics."

After going two successive Olympics without medalling, the side is desperate to end that unwanted streak at this year's London Games.

The build-up to London is intensifying as a squad of 26 fights for 16 spots - 18 if you include the two travelling reserves.

Series such as the one against the US, and last month's one-off Tests against Korea and Argentina, are crucial to the Hockeyroos' London preparation and determining the squad's make-up.

The Hockeyroos are going through a rebuilding period and are the sixth-ranked team in the world.

It is a big comedown for an illustrious brand that boasts three gold medals from the past six Olympics - the last won in Sydney in 2000.

A Hockey Australia spokes-woman said several senior players had been rested for the US matches, giving less experienced players such as Holzberger a chance to shine.

"Jordyn's one of the ones putting her hand up," she said.

"She's really playing well at the moment and this series gives the girls a real opportunity to press for Olympic selection."

The US has a lower world ranking (10th) than Australia.

Australian won two matches and drew two when the sides met in a series in San Diego earlier this year.

QUICK FACTS

The Hockeyroos are one of Australia's most successful sporting teams

They have won three gold medals from the past six Olympic Games

The most famous of those medals came at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but in the two Olympics since, the team has failed to win a medal

The Hockeyroos are going through a rebuilding phase as they prepare for this year's London Olympics

Topics:  ballinger park, hockey, hockeyroos, london olympics, usa


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