Grace Stewart’s Hockeyroos fine tune Japanese preparations

Grace Stewart (30) and her Hockeyroos team mates during their recent trial match with Ibaraki City. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

Grace Stewart (30) and her Hockeyroos team mates during their recent trial match with Ibaraki City. Photo: HOCKEY AUSTRALIA

HOCKEYROOS coach Paul Gaudoin says the Four Nations Tournament, which starts in Osaka on Wednesday, is about commencing the preparations of the side, featuring Gerringong’s Grace Stewart, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Australia (ranked third in the world) will play against South Korea (10th), United States (12th) and hosts Japan (14th) in the Four Nations, which runs from September 12-16.

The Hockeyroos’ opening match of the Four Nations is against Japan on Wednesday, September 12.

The event comes shortly after Australia finished fourth at the World Cup in London and gives the Hockeyroos a taste of Japanese conditions with less than two years until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“It comes at a difficult time straight after the World Cup,” Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said.

“The girls have had some time off and have only been back in training for a short period of time. 

“It allows us to immerse ourselves and have a look at Japan in preparation for Tokyo. 

“We get to play some good opposition.

“We play the Asian champions, Japan, and South Korea who are a very good side and the US who are always good but rebuilding. 

“On top of that, we want to explore our way of play, change some things in order for us to be flexible going into Tokyo. 

“We need to discuss more about how to play and not only have one way of playing.”

The Hockeyroos travelled from Osaka to Tokyo on Monday, visiting some of the facilities for the 2020 Olympics.

“It’s about immersing in a foreign country and understanding what it’s going to feel like,” Gaudoin said. 

“Obviously the Olympic Village is very separate but around that the Japanese culture is very different to ours and we want to make sure we have a good feel of what might be around, so there’s fewer surprises for us in two years’ time.

“This gives us an opportunity to do that two years out.”

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