ORANGE hockey mentor Pete Shea has labelled former Kinross Wolaroi gun turned Hockeyroos star Edwina Bone a player national coach Adam Commens can “build” a team around in years to come.
Shea is a hockey mastermind, most recently responsible for guiding the NSW under 21s girls’ side to national championship glory.
And ahead of the Hockeyroos’ opening game of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Kinross-CYMS women’s Premier League Hockey coach believes Bone’s presence in defence will help the Australian women fulfil their gold-medal-winning potential in Scotland.
“She’s the type of player you can build around,” Shea said, the Hockeyroos set to start their Commonwealth Games campaign against Malaysia today, 6pm AEST.
“Any player in the Australian team is a class act. There’s no weaknesses, and certainly Eddie has climbed a difficult ladder to get where she is.
“She’s fit, focused and will play a big role in the defensive unit she’s become part of.”
The Australian women’s hockey team gets the ideal chance to warm into this year’s campaign with a first-up clash against hockey minnows Malaysia, before further pool games against Wales, hosts Scotland and England lead into the semi-finals and final of the Commonwealth Games.
After a silver medal winning World Cup campaign in the Netherlands last month the Hockeyroos enter the tournament clear favourites for gold.
And that favourites tag won’t bring about the Hockeyroos’ downfall in Glasgow.
“It can be a burden, but it can be a good thing or a bad thing,” Shea said.
“It’s up to the coach and the sports psychologists how the message is given. It’ll come down to how they alleviate that external pressure. At that level there’s a lot of that going on, but I’m sure they’ll focus on their patterns and what they want to achieve at the games.
“How the team performed at the World Cup bodes well for a good tournament.
“They were very competitive and the structures were good. The players performed well and certainly against the weaker sides they’re going to do very well.”