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Hockeyroos injury fear averted
Jim Morton
22:53 AEST Wed Jul 25 2012

The Hockeyroos have survived a late injury scare ahead of their crucial Olympic opener against New Zealand with key defender Kobie McGurk collapsing at training.

Coach Adam Commens' heart sank as McGurk rolled her ankle badly during in an intense session at London's Riverbank Arena on Wednesday.

"She went down and I said `are you okay?' and she said `no'," Commens told AAP.

But McGurk's strain is much better than first feared and has been given the green light to line up in Australia's final warm-up match against South Korea on Thursday.

"It's a very minor sprain and she will play tomorrow," Commens said.

"She came off (during training) and there hasn't been any real swelling."

McGurk, 26, was one of the Hockeyroos' best in their disappointing 4-0 practice match loss to top-ranked Netherlands on Sunday and her loss would have been a huge blow.

"Kobie is one of our strongest and most experienced players and she'll have a big role to play," the coach said.

Commens is wanting much more energy and far better execution against the Koreans to ensure his team enters their tournament-opener with confidence.

With world top-three sides Argentina and Germany also in pool B, the clash between the trans-Tasman rivals, ranked sixth and seventh, is seen as a must-win to qualify for the semi-finals.

But both Commens and Black Sticks counterpart Mark Hager have denied their Olympic campaigns would be sunk by a loss.

Commens cited the Netherlands men's team's efforts to win gold at the 2000 Sydney Games after losing two pool matches, while also warning low-ranked South Africa and USA would both spring surprises.

Australia's women know from harsh experience that draws can be as costly as losses after they went through the 2008 Olympics undefeated but failed to make the semi-finals.

The Hockeyroos efforts were in stark contrast to the Kiwis who finished last in Beijing after losing every match.

But there hasn't been much between the two rivals since with each team winning three games each and drawing the other three in their nine contests in the past 18 months.

New Zealand are also seeking revenge from their gut-wrenching loss on penalties in the gold medal final at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
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BMX
Cycling
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Equestrian
Fencing
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Table Tennis
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Volleyball
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Closing ceremony
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