Now that the Kookaburras have arrived in Germany, we have two tests against the host nation before the start of the Hamburg Masters tournament, which also includes England and the Netherlands. Before any international match it is important that all members of the team have done some research on their opposition to ensure we are well prepared for the challenge ahead. For the goalkeepers, that largely involves watching as many penalty corners as possible on the computer database so we can put together some ideas on the best tactics for our defensive group. Germany have a very strong penalty corner attack so any information we can gain from watching their past matches can be very valuable. We look at corners from as far back as a year ago and then present our findings to the rest of the team in our meeting before the game.
A large part of our training routine is focussed on facing penalty corner drag flicks, and yesterday’s two sessions were no exception. In the Australian team on this tour we have three very high quality flickers, namely Luke Doerner, Chris Ciriello and Jason Wilson, so there is no shortage of practice opportunities for the goalkeepers. Of course it is one thing to save a drag flick in a training situation without distractions between you and the flicker, and quite another to stop the ball in a game with defensive runners plus deflecting and rebounding strikers crossing your line of vision at regular intervals. An efficient sequence of movement becomes very important and this is something we consistently work on with goalkeeping coach David Bell at Australian Institute of Sport training sessions back in Perth.
I’ll let you know how we go against Germany!