Both hockey teams finish sixth

Published 17 August 2016 (AEDT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 15: Australia huddles up during the quarter final hockey game against New Zealand on Day 10 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Hockey Centre on August 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. © 2016 Getty Images

HOCKEY: Our men’s and women’s hockey teams have both been classified in sixth place in their respective competitions following the conclusion of the hockey quarter-finals in Rio.

With the addition of quarter-finals for the competition at these Games, the old system of classification play-offs was abandoned, with teams finishing outside of the top four classified in relation to one another based on how they finished in the pool phase.

As a result of Spain finishing higher than them in men’s Pool A but losing to Argentina in the quarter-finals, Australia’s men are placed one lower than Spain, who are classified fifth.

Similarly, after USA women bowed out at the quarter-final stage, they were placed fifth, one place higher than the Australian women.

Despite the final placing, Australia’s outgoing women’s coach Adam Commens is confident the future is bright for his young team, 12 of whom were Olympic debutantes in Rio.

“I’ve been quite bullish about the talent within this group and I was confident with the preparation we had we were in the right place,” said Commens after Australia’s defeat to New Zealand on Monday.

“I think the team has a huge future. If you look at some of the other nations that will have a lot of retirements, I think we’ll just be on the upward trend.

“I was hopeful that they’d be good enough to do it in Rio. We probably just fell a little bit short against a little bit more experienced New Zealand side.”

Aussie men’s coach Graham Reid admitted he feels a strong sense of “unfinished business” while after Sunday’s match captain Mark Knowles predicted the side will bounce back from the disappointment of Rio.

“There are players who will never play for Australia again and when you put one match [the quarter-final defeat to the Netherlands] to the side, it’s been a pretty amazing run for this group.

“The thing we know is we will be back as a team. Some individuals won’t but we will and you saw it with the Dutch; they lost the World Cup final two years ago and they were amazing tonight.”

Australia’s hockey teams will next be in action in Australia in November as they welcome teams from India, Malaysia and New Zealand to Melbourne for the International Festival of Hockey.

Lawrence West

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