Goal is to build a great side for the Rio Olympics, says Aus coach Reid

Goal is to build a great side for the Rio Olympics, says Aus coach Reid

When Ric Charlesworth bid adieu to the Australian team after winning the World Cup for the second straight time this June, his apprentice Graham Reid had very big boots to fill. While nothing beats being an understudy to a hockey coaching great for six years, matching his deeds can be extremely demanding.

Facing some early setbacks, the 50-year-old former defender is already feeling the enormity of the task in rebuilding the mighty Kookaburras. Despite losing to England and drawing 4-4 with Belgium after leading 3-0 at one stage in the ongoing Champions Trophy, Reid spoke on his long-term plans, the transition and his mentor. Excerpts…
Disappointed on losing out on a win against Belgium in the dying seconds?

Yeah, obviously but I think the team did really well today. They controlled the game very well, much better than the previous three days. Scored some good goals and certain things we’ve being working are beginning to show. I think there was a lot more belief in the group which is very important from the development point of view as that is the main objective with which we have come to this tournament.

The Aussies are undergoing a major transition. Your thoughts...
As I said, this tournament is a building ground for the future. Our goal is to build a great side for the Rio Olympics. It’s happening at a slow pace now as the young guys take some time to tune in. We play a different style of game at the international level and the youngsters need some time to rise to that level. However, they are starting to adapt really well now.

Having won the World Cup and Commonwealth Games, is fatigue affecting the team?
I don’t think so. As I said, we have a group that’s developing. This tournament is not an easy one as the top teams are competing. We expected a tough fight from our opponents and that’s what we’ve got in the last two matches.

For example, Belgium is one the most dynamic sides in the world now. They’ve been working so hard over the last decade and their improvement has been astonishing. They are a force to be reckoned with.

You’ve taken over from the great Ric Charlesworth. What did you learn from him and what are your plans for the side?

I can’t tell you what I’ve learnt from him in six years in a short interview. Eternal vigilance is a quote that he used a lot. I think today, the boys learnt that they have to be always vigilant, especially in defence. On my plans, I want to bring some young players through and keep evolving.

The game is changing every day and we need to keep pace with that. The rules change regularly, the teams are improving and we have to be on our toes. We have a clear plan for Rio Olympics and we are working on that.

India won the Asian Games gold and beat Australia 3-1 in the just-concluded ‘Test’ series. Your thoughts...

India has got a good group of players now. They are pressing a lot more, in fact they are playing like the Australian sides. They have a strong will to win and that’s something India lacked in the past.
DH News Service

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