LONDON 2012: Hockeyroos coach Commens admits Team GB will be tough to beat
GREAT Britain's hockey women are the team to beat at this summer's Olympics, according to the coach of their arch-rivals Australia.
CREDIT: Australia coach Adam Commens is full of praise for Great Britain opposite number Danny Kerry, after he's been the architect of the Olympic hosts rise up the world rankings (Ady Kerry)
Danny Kerry's Team GB have been podium regulars in the last two years, claiming bronze at the World Cup, European Championships and Commonwealth Games, silver at this year's Champions Trophy and gold at the recent London 2012 test event at the Riverbank Arena.
In contrast, the Hockeyroos are in a rebuilding phase, with Commens dropping a number of experienced names when he was appointed at the start of 2011.
Four years ago Australia beat Kerry's team to claim fifth place in Beijing and they were also narrow winners in the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
But the tide has now shifted.
“I think they’re one of the form teams of 2012. I think their performance in the Champions Trophy earlier in the year was a good one; I was surprised they didn’t win the final. I thought they were the best team there," admitted Australia coach Adam Commens, after his side were beaten 2-1 by Olympic champions Netherlands in the opening fixture of the Investec London Cup in Chiswick.
“I think Great Britain has progressed enormously, especially if you have a look at where they’ve come from seven years ago.
"They were ranked 11 or 12, and now they’re ranked fourth. Credit to their staff, I think they’ve had a consistent philosophy and been persistent with that. if you’re going to have success with any team, that’s what you need to have, and you can't try to change from one year to the next.
"You need to have continuity. You need to have a plan and stick to it and concentrate on developing your own team.
“I think GB and the English team are a great example of what happens if you follow a plan through."
But Commens admits injuries to key players Crista Cullen, Alex Danson and Sarah Thomas, who are all absent from this week's tune-up tournament as they continue their rehabilitations, could disrupt Kerry's best-laid plans.
“I think they’ve been unlucky with some injuries to key players at the wrong time, all three are world class and on any sporting team when you lose players of that quality then it’s going to affect you," he added.
"Providing they come back feeling well, I would imagine they’ll be one of the strongest teams at the Olympics.”
© Sportsbeat 2012