McLeod stepping down after sub-par Olympics

JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
Last updated 05:07 11/08/2012
Shane McLeod
PHIL WALTERS/ Getty
STEPPING DOWN: Shane McLeod will not look to extend his contract with the men's Black Sticks.

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Black Sticks men's hockey coach Shane McLeod is stepping down.

McLeod confirmed his decision after the side's disappointing Olympic campaign ended on a winning note when they beat Argentina 3-1 in the playoff for ninth.

McLeod's contract runs out at the end of the year and he said he had no plans to continue.

"My plan is not to continue," he said.

"I've had six years, I've enjoyed it, but it's time for someone else."

The Black Sticks have one more major assignment this year, the Champions Trophy in Australia from December 1-9.

McLeod is unsure whether he will have the coaching reins for that trip or if New Zealand Hockey will usher in his replacement.

"I'm pretty relaxed," he said.

"I need to discuss that with them."

Hopes were high that the Black Sticks would make a real impression in London.

A couple of months ago they won the Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia for the first time in 14 attempts and they arrived at the Olympics with a good mix of youth and experience.

But they got off to a rocky start against Korea (lost 2-0) and never recovered. McLeod admitted it was the low point in his lengthy tenure.

"This would be up there," he said.

McLeod would not be drawn on the future of his veteran players, nor did he throw anyone under the bus in the wake of the disaster.

Dean Couzins, Blair Hopping, Ryan Archibald, Phil Burrows and Kyle Pontifex are all in their 30s and could be considering retirement.

"My suggestion to them is to let the dust settle then re-assess things in three or four weeks," McLeod said.

The post-mortem for their lacklustre campaign is already underway, but the answer appears to lie in the mirror.

"The Olympics are a really important stage and we didn't handle it as well as would've liked," McLeod said.

"We needed to be more aggressive. It's disappointing we didn't show our best, so you finish where you finish. We had the potential to finish much higher."

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- Fairfax Media

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