Author: Nic Kerber
Hockeyroos defender Edwina Bone gave her take on the 2-2 draw with India in the team’s second match of the Tokyo Test Event.
In contrast to their slow start against China less than 24 hours earlier, the Hockeyroos were on the front foot early and went ahead courtesy of a successful penalty stroke from Kaitlin Nobbs.
The Hockeyroos maintained their slender lead going into the second half before India levelled in the third period. But seven minutes later Grace Stewart put the Hockeyroos back in front. Then, just as the Hockeyroos looked on track to secure their first win of the competition, Gurjit Kaur struck in the dying stages to salvage a draw for India.
The Hockeyroos have a rest day tomorrow before taking on Japan on Tuesday.
After yesterday’s slow start, the team appeared to be much more focussed early on against India. Did Coach Paul Gaudoin reinforce the need to start the match well?
Edwina Bone (EB): “We spoke about how we needed to start the game on the front foot. It’s always going to be beneficial for us because in this heat teams are going to get tired towards the end of matches, so if we can put a couple of goals in early and grind it out we know we’ll be able to overpower teams towards the end.”
We definitely spoke about how slow we started against China and it was certainly a focus today, especially mentally trying to make sure we were switched on. It was just that mental switch that we had to be on from the get-go instead of getting to the last quarter and chasing the game.”
The way the game went, it seemed like it was somewhat of a reversal from the match against China – started brightly but then India scored late to snatch a draw?
EB: “India were lucky to get a corner right at the end through a referral, and we had a couple of chances right at the end as well. It was a bit of a see-sawing game. I felt we had a few more opportunities today. The circle was really crowded so the strikers did really well earning penalty corners. I think we had a about 12 penalty corners but our execution had to be better for those set pieces to put those opportunities away.”
Do you feel like the team is on the right track heading into the Oceania Cup?
EB: “The score lines in our two matches so far in the Test Event haven’t been desirable. They’re not the end results we wanted but in terms of the way we’re playing, the style we’re playing and the connections that we’re getting, it’s very close and it’s almost there. We still have an opportunity to make the Final if we beat Japan on Tuesday so we’ll be going into that match treating it like our semi final. I really believe we have it in us to do that.
Putting that kind of pressure on yourself is going to be great in lead in to the Olympic qualifiers because those games against New Zealand in Rockhampton are going to be massive.”
Do you think this time in Tokyo will really help the team for the Oceania Cup, particularly from a climatic perspective?
“Definitely. I think this weather (in Tokyo) is really good preparation for us. I think playing in tough conditions is always challenging for a group but it also brings us closer together in terms of the fact that you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to work hard for each other in this kind of weather.
We’re coming up with really good game plans and putting together some good performances out on the park. I know there are only 16 girls here in Tokyo and a number of girls are back in Perth, but both groups are working hard so when we come back together next week we’ll be able to put those final touches on. I feel like we’re playing really good hockey at the moment and hopefully we can just tweak a few things heading into the Oceania Cup.”
India 2 (Vandana Katariya 36’, Gurjit Kaur 59’)
Hockeyroos 2 (Kaitlin Nobbs 14’, Grace Stewart 43’)
@ Oi Stadium, Tokyo, Japan