Kate Jenner had some crucial touches as the Hockeyroos opened their Olympic campaign with a 3-1 win over Spain.
Making her return to the Olympic arena, the Tamworth product was strong at the back, blocking a penalty corner on the left post after the half-time hooter and then deflecting the return shot out to ensure Spain didn't sneak a late goal as the two sides went into the break 0-all.
Later in the fourth quarter she came up with another crucial block as the Hockeyroos made an on-field statement after a horrid chapter that prompted fears of a player strike and much off-field upheaval.
Australia's medal hopes looked shot last year, when claims of body-shaming, bullying and other issues prompted an external review that made 29 recommendations in response to a "dysfunctional" culture.
Katrina Powell, part of the Hockeyroos' teams that won Olympic gold in 1996 and 2000, replaced Paul Gaudoin as coach while Toni Cumpston resigned as high-performance director.
Powell could hardly have hoped for a better start to her side's bid for their first Olympic medal since the Sydney Games.
Reigning Pro League goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch, cleared to play in Tokyo after successfully appealing her shock non-selection by the squad's former hierarchy, was typically dependable.
Australia seized control in sapping heat after a scoreless opening half.
The match burst to life after halftime with three goals in the space of three minutes, starting with Rosie Malone's strike from a tight angle.
Malone opened the scoring then, moments later, delivered a pinpoint pass across the face of goal that 250-gamer Emily Chalker tapped into the back of the net.
Spain quickly reduced the Hockeyroos' lead to 2-1, with Beatriz Perez's goal upheld after video umpire Amber Church studied the replay in depth to see if the ball had come off the back of a stick.
A diving Grace Stewart gave Australia some breathing room in the 37th minute, opening up a 3-1 lead when her desperation proved decisive in a goal-mouth scramble.
The Hockeyroos' campaign continues against China on Monday.
Australian Associated Press