Sports

Nothing compares to Crookwell for Hockeyroos captain

"I feel like there's more pressure from the Crookwell side of things because it's more of a personal [thing]," White told Fairfax Media.

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"Everyone says you've got the weight of Australia on your back, but for me it's more the Crookwell side of it because you know them personally.

"A lot of people have contributed to my journey back there and supported it and are really passionate about what I've been able to do in the past.

"They've followed me all the way through and for them to either experience it live on the Gold Coast or through TV knowing it's Australia and I'll be leading the team out it's just as special for some people back in Crookwell as it is for me and my family."

If that Crookwell pressure wasn't enough, the Hockeyroos have only missed out on gold once since the sport came into the Games in 1998 – in 2002 when India beat England in the final, with Australia having to settle for bronze with a win over New Zealand.

But Smith pointed out the last two golds have been decided by penalty shootouts and she was expecting another tight affair on the Gold Coast.

They went into the Games as the third-ranked Commonwealth nation, behind England and the Black Sticks.

The latter they'll face for top spot on the podium on Saturday, while the former faces India for the bronze.

But Smith expected the Australian spirit, coupled with the home crowd, to help turn the ranking tables when it matters.

"We've had a proud history, but every time it's been a fight – the last two out of three Commonwealth Games have gone to shootouts and we've won in the shootout," she said.

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"We're kind of expecting the same thing here … but an Aussie underdog story and a fairytale – who doesn't like that.

"I feel like it's in our culture to fight and grind and get those wins other teams may give up on.

"We'll fight to the end and hopefully with that spirit and with the home crowd cheering us on we'll be able to hopefully get the result that we desire.

"We have come here with the goal of winning the gold medal."

COMMONWEALTH GAMES HOCKEY

Saturday: Hockeyroos v New Zealand for the gold medal, 12.45pm

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David Polkinghorne

David Polkinghorne is a sports reporter at The Canberra Times.

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