TAMWORTH hockey prodigy Kate Jenner will be hoping to add World Cup gold to her Commonwealth gold when the Hockeyroos shoot for glory in The Hague tonight.
The Aussies will take on the hosts and World No.1 the Netherlands in the final after outlasting surprise packets USA 3-1 in penalties in their semi-final after scores were locked at 2-all at full-time.
It’s the first time in nearly a decade the Hockeyroos will be competing for a major title, and cheering on from almost 15,000km away will be Kate’s proud parents Barry and Sue.
Both were a bit bleary-eyed yesterday after a late and tense night, or early morning (the game didn’t finish until about 2am), watching the Hockeyroos get home.
“The heart-rate was pretty high,” Sue said.
In a physical, and at times controversial, clash the Hockeyroos were forced to dig deep, with American star Kelsey Kolojejchick twice levelling the scores in the 2-2 (3-1) game.
Australia appeared to have secured victory following goals to Kellie White and the tournament’s leading sharp-shooter Anna Flanagan, only for Kolojejchick to send the match to a shootout by equalising with just two minutes left in regular time in The Hague.
But Australia could not be denied, with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch standing tall to make three stunning saves and send them into the final – their first World Cup or Olympic Games final since 2006.
“We went from one minute thinking great to oh no not another penalty shoot-out,” Barry said.
“It was actually a bit like the Commonwealth Games in Delhi,” Sue said.
Then they beat New Zealand 4-2 on penalties to win the gold medal.
Kolojejchick’s second equalising goal did draw some controversy.
There were question marks surrounding the legitimacy of the goal with her shot deflected in by Hockeyroos captain Madonna Blyth.
Blyth immediately complained to officials that it was high and had been sailing wide before ricocheting in off her shoulder – which would be cause for a penalty.
Despite replays appearing to indicate the ball was indeed going wide, the goal stood.
It has already been a pretty memorable tournament for Jenner. She reached the 100-cap milestone against New Zealand.
That was pretty special, Barry and Sue said.
“To play one game is pretty good, to play 100 is amazing,” Barry said.
They haven’t had a lot of opportunity to talk to her but from the communications they have had she is enjoying it and has been pretty happy with her form.
The Netherlands are the benchmark but after only going down 2-nil to them in the pool stages confidence is high.
Coach Adam Commens saw enough in that contest to suggest an upset is on the cards.
“They’ve gone from a team that probably fought hard and was a tough side and was reasonably physical, to a side that is now capable of taking the game to the top nations in the world,” he said.
“I think we saw that against the Netherlands in the round match.
“There’s not many teams in the world that have been able to do that against the Netherlands in the last two years.
“I thought we were better than them for that (first half). I think that shows how far we’ve come.”
The final will be shown live on ABC 2 from 11.15pm.