Grace Stewart’s Hockeyroos study up ahead of semi-final clash

Grace Stewart high fives her teammate Jodie Kenny. Photo: Grant Treeby
Grace Stewart high fives her teammate Jodie Kenny. Photo: Grant Treeby

THERE’S an element of the unknown ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games semi-finals, with the Hockeyroos having not played upcoming opponents India in almost 18 months.

Australia’s last tussle with the Indians was at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne in November 2016.

India won the first match 1-nil, before the Hockeyroos hit back with 4-1 and 3-1 wins to clinch the series.

Defender Eddie Bone played all three matches and scored a rare international goal in Australia’s 4-1 win but said the upcoming contest would be something new altogether.

“They’ve changed a bit as have we,” Bone said.

“We’ve got a bit of homework to do on them so we’re clear on what our goals will be against them, how to score, how they’ll look to score.

“I’m confident if we do everything we have for our previous matches we’ll be able to get everything done.”

India are currently ranked 10th in the world but got through their pool with three wins and one defeat, going down 3-2 to Wales in their opening game before storming home.

The Indians knocked off second-ranked England 2-1 in the pool, but missed out on top spot purely on goal difference.

Australia finished top of their pool with 10 points from four games, having claimed three wins and a draw to finish ahead of New Zealand who secured two wins and two draws.

England and New Zealand (ranked fourth) are the two highest ranked nations still in the draw, so fifth-ranked Australia have put themselves in a great position to reach the gold medal match.

“It’s going really well at the moment,” Bone said.

“Our goal was to make the semi-finals and we’ve achieved that goal.

“Now we’re looking to that next match against India tomorrow night – it’s really exciting.

“We’ve got a bit of homework to do on them, we haven’t played them for a little while.

“We’ve ticked that first box and now we’re looking forward to the medal matches.”

Young Gerringong forward Grace Stewart scored Australia’s second goal in the 2-nil win over Scotland to seal their spot on top of the pool.

“To come top of the pool sets us up nicely taking on India but it should be a tough game,” she said.

“Especially after New Zealand’s past results over the past few years, to have a draw with them and end up on top of them, gives us a lot of confidence heading into the semis.”