Hockey NZ to seek help after Glasgow upsets

MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
Last updated 09:43 04/08/2014
Simon Child
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
DOWN AND OUT: Men's Black Sticks player Simon Child deals with the disappointment after his side finished fourth in Glasgow.

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Hockey New Zealand will seek advice from High Performance Sport New Zealand's experts to help improve their teams' consistency and penalty shoot-out ability.

Both teams finished a place below their rankings at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games; the women winning the bronze medal match while the men lost theirs and finished fourth.

Both sides lost penalty shoot-outs to England, the women in the semifinal, the men in the bronze medal match.

The women's side is starting to make a habit out of dipping out on penalties and Hockey New Zealand boss Malcolm Harris said while it wasn't considered a major issue, seeking advice on the mental side of it from experts at HPSNZ was common-sense. 

"After every big tournament we have a comprehensive review," he said.

"The review from this event will certainly be talking about [the shoot-out losses] and how we go about correcting that in the future."

Harris defended the teams' performances at Glasgow and said they were close to meeting their goals. 

The women's team was expected to make the final while the men's side hoped to medal, he said.

"We would have preferred to make a final and a medal, but if you have a look at the trends over the last three years, the world rankings have only gone in one direction and that's the right direction.

"And if you have a look at hockey internationally, there are four teams [ranked] ahead of the women and five ahead of the men and we're the only nation that doesn't have a full-time professional, centralised programme.

"We back ourselves, but we also need to be realistic."

Harris remained confident the right people were in the right positions to "take the sport forward" and reiterated his stance on women's coach Mark Hager. 

Hager is weighing up his options and is now off contract following the Games.

He has to decide if he wants to stay with the Black Sticks through to the Rio Olympics in 2016 or have a crack at the vacant Australian men's job. 

"I've told Mark we're very keen to retain his services. We just have to wait now," Harris said.

Harris said there was no back-up plan should Hager leave, but said the position would be advertised internationally. 

"With where the women's team is placed, it's would be a very attractive position," he said. 

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