We had our first loss of the tour this week in our opening game against Germany, the defending Olympic and World Cup winners. They scored in the final minute to record a 4-3 victory after we had come back from 3-1 down to get back in the game. Luke Doerner, Simon Orchard and Jason Wilson all scored for the Kookaburras in a generally even game that could have gone either way. We get a second chance against the home nation today in our final hit-up before the Hamburg Masters, and with the addition of Jamie Dwyer, Mark Knowles and Des Abbott to the squad we will be looking to get even.
One of the big challenges a goalkeeper of a touring representative side can face is getting mentally and physically prepared to play the second half of a game after sitting off for the first. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the goalkeepers in the Australian team will be interchanging at half time in the majority of the matches on tour, so being ready to play after 35 minutes of spectating is very important. In the pre-game warm-up, the two keepers rotate evenly through the penalty corner attack and goal shooting practice. If I am playing the second half, as I did in the game against Germany, I will come off after the warm-up and take off my all my protective gear above the waist plus my leg guards. I generally watch from the bench for the first 15 minutes and try to pick up any information that may be useful, such as the movement of their strikers through the opposition forward line or variations in their PCA set-up.
With about 20 minutes to go I will repeat elements of my warm-up, with some run-throughs, stretching and range of movement activities. With five minutes left I get all my gear back on and then take a bag of balls out to the circle at the half time whistle for the 17th and 18th players to hit at me before coming on in the second half. It’s useful if one of those players is a drag flicker so they can be incorporated into the hit-up, but unfortunately this is not always the case.
Please excuse the lack of picture again, I am having real trouble adding images to my posts since writing from our Hamburg hotel.
PS…. Just got back from game 2 so I thought I’d quickly add in the result to this post:
We suffered another close loss to Germany today, this time going down 2-1. While both of the games we have played against the Olympic Champions are essentially warm-up fixtures prior to the Hamburg Masters, they are still test matches and any loss is disappointing. Jason Wilson converted a drag flick from a penalty corner after the final siren, but by then the result was beyond doubt. I played the first half and was happy with my performance and very encouraged by the team’s efforts even though we couldn’t quite get the result we were after.