The Hockeyroos must get a better return from their penalty corners in their final 2018 Women’s World Cup pool game against New Zealand in London on Sunday morning (AEST) according to goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Australia sits top of Pool D with four points with one round of matches to play, with New Zealand and Japan in second and third respectively with three points and Belgium in fourth with one point.
The Hockeyroos missed the chance to open up a three-point buffer at the top of the pool with the 0-0 draw against Belgium on Tuesday where they failed to convert any of their six penalty corners.
Australia’s final pool match against New Zealand now takes on extra significance with top spot and an automatic place in the quarter-finals up for grabs, while second and third will have to settle for a spot in the sudden death playoffs. Australia are guaranteed a top three spot.
Warrandyte product Lynch, who made a string of key saves against Belgium, said that penalty corners was an obvious area of improvement ahead of the Black Sticks encounter.
“Our PCs, in our first game (3-2 win over Japan) were really solid,” Lynch said.
“We were at 50 per cent with two out of four converted. Against Belgium we didn’t score any of those and they’re crucial now in the women’s game.
“They can be game-changers if you can put a few away.
“We didn’t have a single PCD (penalty corner defence) which is one positive.
“We’ll do a bit of training to tighten up our PCs and a few other little things.”
Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith identified missed injections and traps at short corners after the Belgium game as a reason for their 0/6 PC conversion rate.
Australia have several good options to feed from penalty corners in attack, led by veteran Jodie Kenny as well as Georgina Morgan, who has returned from a 12-month injury at the World Cup.
“We’ve got a great battery and I think the flickers are a really valuable part of our team,” Lynch said.
“We’ve got to keep earning corners and having lot of attack to give them the opportunity.”
Australia have played New Zealand seven times in the past 12 months, winning five of those encounters.
The Hockeyroos’ only defeat to the Black Sticks in the past 12 months came at this year’s Commonwealth Games gold medal match, while the sides drew their pool match 0-0 on the Gold Coast.