We can rule the world: Hockeyroos’ hard work paying off
FOR the past decade the Hockeyroos have lingered in the shadows while the Kookaburras conquered the world, but Sunshine Coast product Jodie Kenny believes the time has come for the women's team to return to the top.
The 26-year-old thinks the women's national team is on the cusp of returning to its former glory, after falling two goals short of beating the Olympic champions, the Netherlands, on their home turf in last month's World Cup final.
She said this month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was a perfect opportunity to show the Hockeyroos were ready to embrace the favourite tag and perform under pressure.
"At the rate that we've improved we can certainly handle that pressure," she said. "We're not a developing team any more.
"We're really playing good hockey and if we play to our potential we'll come through with those goods everyone's talking about."
Australia entrenched itself as Commonwealth Games gold medal favourite when it won the silver medal at last month's World Cup and the next best Commonwealth team, New Zealand, finished fifth.
The Hockeyroos have barely skipped a beat since that compelling performance in The Hague, returning to their full-time base in Perth to begin preparation for the Games.
"We're in a really good place as a team at the moment and we are very confident going into the Commonwealth Games," Kenny said.
The 113-game veteran said Australia was finally in a position to become a consistent force internationally after years of rebuilding.
"When I debuted (in 2011) we were seventh in the world and about seven of us debuted at the same time," she said.
"We've been together for that whole time and we've put in a lot of hard work to get where we are.
"NOW we can look back on that hard work and it gives us a lot of confidence that we can close the gap (with the Netherlands)."
The women's side will look to follow the same path as their male counterparts.
The Kookaburras finished second in the 2002 World Cup behind Germany but bounced back two years later to win Olympic gold.
The world champion Kookaburras have remained a force at the top of the world rankings for the past decade, winning back-to-back World Cups, the Champions Trophy five years in a row and the past four Commonwealth Games' gold medals.
The Hockeyroos were No.1 in the world from the late 1980s until 2000 and although they have won three consecutive Commonwealth Games, their last Olympic gold came in Sydney in 2000.
They aim to break that streak in Rio de Janeiro and Kenny believes recent success is a sign of good things to come for her team.
"Now we're here we are not going anywhere anytime soon," she said. "We came close to beating them (the Netherlands) in the Netherlands and if we keep developing the way we have been, we can reach them."