Hockeyroos open campaign against Canada

They're yet to reach the medal stage in four attempts, parachuted a new coach in three months ago and are ranked 15 spots below Australia in the world rankings.

So surely the Hockeyroos can't stuff up their Commonwealth Games opener against the Canadians, who are more renowned for hitting goals on ice than astro turf?

"I'm hoping (not)," Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin says.

Gaudoin admits knowing little about the hockey minnows, except for their reputation as a rugged outfit expected to throw caution to the wind under an interim coach.

They've also had some players appear in Australia's domestic league.

"We've seen a bit of them but we don't know a lot. For us in that first match it's going to be important to focus on what we need to do; execute our skills as well as we need to under pressure," Gaudoin says.

"I think they've got just a recently new coach as well, which will probably bring something else a little bit different to them but really it comes back to us and how we want to play our game."

Gaudoin also wants his side to make the most of their home ground advantage, openly asking for a hostile crowd at the $16.5 million redeveloped hockey centre at Keith Hunt Park.

At the 2006 Games in Melbourne, the Hockeyroos poured on 27 goals through the group stage.

"We've got to embrace what we've got here. In the AFL, sides win at home and I think we've got to use that opportunity to use our crowd," he says.

"We may not get that opportunity again in this sort of environment."

Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith, renowned for her unrelenting approach as a forward, says their first match against the Canadians is a chance to flex their muscles.

Australia are vying for their fourth straight gold medal.

Asked if it was an opportunity to make a statement, Smith said: "By far ... we need to go out there and show everyone that we're here to play, we're going to be one of the teams to beat."

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