AUSTRALIA'S most decorated Hockeyroo said yesterday that Coast product Jodie Schulz was destined to wear the green and gold at Olympic level long ago.
On the Coast to speak at Pacific Lutheran College, Nikki Hudson attributed Schulz's rise to the national team to a tireless dedication to her craft and earmarked the 24-year-old's drag flick as a key weapon in the Hockeyroos' London campaign.
The drag flick is a stroke used off a penalty corner, and Schulz has made it her own in recent years.
Hudson said: "I was fortunate enough to play a few years with Jodie and she is a great player.
"I could always see she had the potential to be a Hockeyroo, and she really knuckled down and became a great player.
"She is a great drag flicker and she's scoring a lot of goals off it, so she will certainly be a strength for them.
"From all reports she's been playing great hockey and you should all be very proud of her being from up here.
"She is very grounded and let's hope she can put a few in the back of the net."
Hudson, who won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said the Australian women would not be deterred by their pre-tournament loss to the Netherlands three days ago, and predicted it would be the Kookaburras who had the last laugh in London.
"Those girls are very resilient," she said.
"I'm confident they will do well. "They are a great team with a little bit of inexperience, but sometimes that can be a positive because you tend to not think too much into things.
"I have every confidence they can have success there - the men too. I think both teams will do us proud. I think the Kookaburras are definitely gold medal chances and the women, I'm confident they can do well."
A veteran of three Olympics and 303 international caps, Hudson knows what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Hudson said it was the athletes not content just to be in London who would excel.
"Sometimes it's enough for some athletes just to go to an Olympics and they don't ever think they will go away and win," she said.
"But we were always of the belief that we were good enough. So being selected was the first step, then winning all the matches for the round games was the second and winning the gold medal was the third.
"You've just got to be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. You've made it that far - you might as well put in the extra effort to come away with the rewards."
With Olympic fever gripping the world, Hudson will spend the next two weeks glued to the television at her Gold Coast home, but she admits her former teammates will never be far from her mind.
"I'm happily retired now, but I'm really excited for the girls and what they are about to embark on," she said.
"I've felt it for the last three Olympics, so I know pretty well the steps they will be going through right now.
"I got home from work the other night and thought, 'What would the girls be doing now?' And I knew exactly where they would be."
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