Author of five Australian hockey books, Mark Tronson suggests that the placement of playing their opponents has been either very selective or a means by which to make it as difficult as possible for the Kookaburras.
The Kookaburras schedule of Pool matches
30 July v South Africa
1 August v Spain
3 August v Argentina
5 August v Great Britain
7 August v Pakistan
The full draw for Pool 1 and 2 are set out in order for hockey supporters might follow the competition with interest. (www.london2012.com)
The first thing to note is that there are never any easy matches in Olympic competition, but one can note from past performances at top level of international hockey (Champions Trophies, World Cups and Olympics) that the physical fitness and where-with-all of the better teams lasts the distance.
In other words, results show that South Africa and Argentina at this level, are fired up with what seems like an excess of enthusiasm in their first two or three matches, but tend to wane with the heavy duty as the tournament wages on.
Therefore the better teams would seek to play these squads at the latter end of the Olympic tournament, but alas, the Kookaburras face off with South Africa first up and Argentina third. One wonders what forces were at play in determining this Olympic schedule of matches, much the same as Kookaburra coach Ric Charlesworth moaned about three of their games at 8.30am.
That leaves Spain, Great Britain and Pakistan to play. Spain is a constant annoyance as they play a good game, not unlike the free spirited Australians. Over the years numbers of Kookaburras have played their domestic hockey as professionals in Spain.
Great Britain the 1988 Seoul Olympic Gold Medalists are a tough and classy outfit and playing before their home crowd against those of "convict stock" is always a terrific fixture.
Pakistan won't be easy either but if recent score lines are anything to go by, the Kookaburras "have- the-wool" over them. One can only remember with heartache the 0-1 loss to Pakistan in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic semi-final to know how very dangerous they are with a momentary lapse.
Australia and Great Britain are the most likeliest to go through to the London Olympic semi-finals, but Spain is right up there.