Hockeyroos defender Jodie Kenny says the side’s top four finish at the 2018 Women’s World Cup is a sign of the youthful team’s growth but acknowledges there’s plenty more to learn.
Fifth-ranked Australia lost their semi-final to world number one Netherlands in a shootout before losing the bronze medal match 3-1 to Spain in London.
Veteran defender Kenny said the fourth-place finish was a step forward for Paul Gaudoin’s side as they continue to evolve following their quarter-final exit at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“We’ve come a very long way,” Kenny said.
“I’m extremely proud of all the girls.”
The World Cup represented another opportunity for the side to gain big-game experience, having reached the Commonwealth Games gold medal match in April, losing 4-1 to New Zealand.
“It shows we’ve still got a lot of learning in the bigger matches,” Kenny said.
“We need to play really well throughout to get over those hurdles at the end, the tough final matches that show physical and mental strength as well.”
Gaudoin refused to use Australia’s heartbreaking semi-final shootout loss to the Dutch on Saturday as an excuse for Sunday’s loss to Spain, which was the side’s only defeat the World Cup inside regulation time.
“Spain were very good today and we weren’t quite there today,” he said.
“We will learn a lot from Sunday’s performance. We can’t use Saturday’s match as an excuse for Sunday.”
Kenny added that she felt the group was primed for a better performance against the Spaniard, but were beaten by a better side.
“We were up and about ready for it and we were just outplayed,” the Wamuran product said.
“It’s extremely disappointing to end up fourth but in the overall scheme it’s a good effort from us.”
Australia is expected to rise in the latest FIH Hero World Rankings which are due to released this week.