Expect pure gold from Coast dynamo Kenny
COMMONWEALTH GAMES: HAVING sharpshooter Jodie Kenny is set to play a crucial role for the side in Glasgow.
Kenny, nee Schulz, snatched the winning goal against the US in a pressure-packed penalty shootout in The Hague, again underlining her influence on the team, before Australia lost to the Netherlands 2-0 in the final.
Most pundits expect the 26-year-old to again play a vital role for the gold medal favourites.
"She is one of the leaders in the team and I'm sure she'll be leading from the front in Glasgow, both with her drag flicking, in conjunction with Anna Flanagan, and also as a key central defender," said her Queensland representative coach, Des King.
Kenny and Flanagan are among the most feared drag-flick specialists in the game, allowing the Hockeyroos to become a force from penalty corners.
"They're both up there with the top drag flickers in the world," King said.
"If you're coaching against Australia it's a really difficult thing to plan for and to defend.
"It (drag flicking) is definitely a real asset to the national team and I think it's been instrumental in the Hockeyroos going from seventh in the world rankings to second in the last couple of years."
At 183cm and 74kg, Kenny has the ideal build for powerful shots and she also has benefited from some of the globe's top drag-flick coaches, including the Netherlands' Teun de Nooijer.
"Jodie has really good levers and excellent strength, which she has developed a lot over the last four years. She also has technique," King said.
Hockey Australia and the Queensland Academy of Sport have invested in Kenny going to Holland to work with de Nooijer and more recently she has been guided by Luke Doerner, who also works with Flanagan and the Australian men's team.
Kenny is among 11 athletes with significant links to the Sunshine Coast who will compete in Glasgow.
Olympic gold medallists Melanie Schlanger and Brittany Elmslie should lead the charge in 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays.
Schlanger will also contest the 50m freestyle and Elmslie may line up in the 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Caloundra's Tessa Wallace will vie for another Commonwealth Games medal in the 200m butterfly, and Paralympics gold medallist Blake Cochrane is in the 200m individual medley.
Alexandra Headland siblings Alana and Matt Boyd will compete in the women's and men's pole vault respectively, with the former hoping to defend her title and the latter in his first major international meet. They are following in the footsteps of father Ray (pole vault) and mother Denise (track), who both claimed Commonwealth Games gold medals and competed at Olympics.
Australia Zoo head veterinarian Melanie Panayiotou will run in the women's marathon, just a year after taking up the sport seriously, and Belli Park's Olympic cyclist Shara Gillow is a medal chance in the road race and time trial.
Coolum Beach product Kelsey Cottrell is aiming for gold in lawn bowls. She gets her campaign under way tomorrow evening in the singles, and the triples next week.
Sunshine Coast athletes at the Games: Jodie Kenny (hockey), Matt Boyd (pole vault), Alana Boyd (pole vault), Melanie Panayiotou (marathon), Kelsey Cottrell (lawn bowls), Melanie Schlanger (swimming), Brittany Elmslie (swimming), Blake Cochrane (swimming), Tessa Wallace (swimming), Remy Fairweather (swimming), Shara Gillow (cycling)