Drag flick puts Schulz in picture
JODIE Schulz admits to feeling the strain of being the Hockeyroos' penalty taker, but the Wamuran product and former Sunshine Coast player knows it comes with the territory.
The 24-year-old, one of two sharpshooters in the side, is expected to score regularly from penalty corners using her punishing drag flicks.
"Having the drag flick is obviously a very handy skill to have and there's only a few who can do it, so it's very important to the team, so yeah there is a fair bit of pressure on me," she said.
"But I do a lot of training day in, day out to master the stroke, so I'm fairly confident.
"I've still got a long time to go to fully master it, but I think I'll get some good results and hopefully I can put some goals away."
Schulz's conversion rate from penalty corners is relatively high with about "30 to 40%" of her attempts finding the goal.
"Obviously, I'm really tall, so I've got the levers to produce a lot of power and put the ball into the net," she said.
"And I've got a lot of dedication. I've really put everything I've had into learning this skill. I've put hours and hours of practice into getting it right.
"If I can get 50% of my flicks in during a game that would be really good, because sometimes you only get one or two opportunities per game."
Anna Flanagan, the scorer of the winning goal against Great Britain in the London Cup semi-final recently, is the other member of the national side who can fashion the shot.
"She's just as good as me at flicking, so having both of us in the team is really important," Schulz said.
"There is that unpredictability of who the ball will get pushed out to (from the corner)."
Schulz will also play a crucial role in the heart of defence for the Hockeyroos.
"I'd like to think I'm going to be one of the main players at the back during the Games and I'd like to be quite dominant," she said.
The Hockeyroos are desperate to claim a medal in London after missing out on a podium finish in 2004 and 2008.
The side is ranked seventh in the world but Schulz believes it is capable of causing an upset on the sport's biggest stage.
The Australians boast some good form too, recently beating third-ranked Germany and fourth-ranked Great Britain.
The side has been pitched into a pool containing Argentina (ranked second), Germany, New Zealand (sixth), South Africa (12th) and the US (10th).
Australia will open its campaign against New Zealand on July 29.
- Age: 24
- Hails from: Wamuran
- Event: Women's hockey
- When to see Jodie: July 29, 5.30pm, v NZ; August 1, 4am; v Germany; August 2, 5.30pm, v USA, August 4, 5.30pm, v RSA; August 7, 4am, v Argentina, August 8, classification & semi-finals, August 14, classification and medal matches.