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Back You are here: Home Sports Hockey Kwa Zulu Natal Grant Glutz: Goal Scoring Machine
Friday, 17 June 2011 12:44

Grant Glutz: Goal Scoring Machine

Grant Glutz: Goalscoring Machine

aGlutz_311"Grant's greatest strength is that he's a fantastic finisher; we've missed an out-and-out finisher at junior level, not only in field play but also in set-pieces and penalty corner attacks, so that's a huge advantage for him. He is a good athlete, has great hands and good skills, he also works quite hard defensively off the ball, so he's kind of the complete package, the complete forward.

 

"Grant is definitely within the top two most talented players in this group; he's exceptionally good. He can go all the way to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games. The first step is Junior World Cup selection. If he gets more experience, matures with age and works on a few small things, he'll be there."

These were the words of South Africa Under 19 hockey coach Brendon Carolan during the recent SA U21 Men's Interprovincial Tournament (IPT) at Queensmead stadium in Durban.

The head coach was talking about the 18-year-old Maritzburg College and national U19 striker Grant Glutz, who has been making waves in SA hockey circles, particularly when it comes to that elusive, all-too-precious art of finding the back of the net.

The SA U19 squad ended fourth in Durban, behind the U21 tournament winners, Kaspersky Southern Gauteng, runners-up Free State and third-placed Western Province.

The reason why the national U19 side was playing in an U21 interprovincial tournament is that the players are being groomed to take South Africa successfully through the Junior (U21) World Cup qualifier tournament against the best in Africa next year and then on to the actual Junior World Cup finals competition that takes place in New Delhi, India in November 2013.

Barring injury, Glutz will almost certainly be selected for the SA U18 side (for the second year running) that will be taking on Australia's age-group team in an international series to be held at St Alban's in Pretoria during this year's National U16 IPT in early July.

His SA U18 and SA U19 manager, Mark Jenneker shared his thoughts on Grant Glutz the person and Grant Glutz the player: "Plain and simple, Grant is a goalscoring machine; he's a team man through and through, he would die for the team. He's very shy and very, very humble. [I noticed that when he seemed amazed that I would want to interview him]. Not one to boast, Grant takes life as it comes. He's a true sportsman and an ambassador for the game."

And as in so many cases where successful sportspeople are concerned, Glutz has the loyal support and encouragement of those closest to him.

"My mom, Vicki, and dad, Ossie, give me a lot of support, as do my sister Melissa, who is in grade 10 at The Wykeham Collegiate, and my brother Anthony, they call him Thabo, who is in grade six at Cordwalles."

Glutz's siblings are also catching the eye in the school sport arena, Melissa at provincial level in tennis and hockey, and Anthony on the cricket, rugby and hockey fields.

During the holidays, Glutz takes time out by visiting his friend's farm in Ladysmith, where the family used to live before relocating to Pietermaritzburg. Fishing, hunting and riding horses are his favourite ways of unwinding.

Glutz comes across as being quiet and modest off the field, but on it he goes about the business of scoring goals for his team with an intensity that is plain to see.

On occasion, that burning competitive instinct and self-belief has got him into hot water with umpires.

"There are those times when I drop my head, get a bit down, but once I get my mind right it's OK. I've worked hard on my relationship with umpires; have got temperamental at times but I am controlling my emotions a bit more now," Glutz says with a smile.

It's not altogether surprising that from time to time the talented forward has found himself incurring the wrath of the whistle men: When he enters the field of combat his easygoing mindset changes into something far more menacing.

"I am quite a quiet guy but when I get on to the field I switch on immediately to what needs to be done.

"I've never captained a side and don't think I would want to have that kind of responsibility. Marc Fourie [SA U19] and Nick Berichon [Maritzburg College] are very good leaders."

At the time of the writing of this article the Maritzburg College first team were unbeaten. Indeed, at the time of writing Glutz had only lost four encounters in around 60 matches over the past three seasons. Such is the strength of Maritzburg College hockey.

" During my time at Maritzburg College the sport has grown. We are getting more and more supporters at our first team games on Pape's Astro.

"Apart from Nick, we have a lot of good players in the College first team. Last year's SA U16 player Tim Guise-Brown is just one of the players who is really important to the team."

Glutz has great respect for the hockey factory's legendary first team coach, Mike Bechet.

"Mr Bechet is very knowledgeable and we have a lot of respect for him; he has so much to give," says Glutz. "His record over the last 30 years at Maritzburg College is incredible."

He also has much respect for his SA U19 head coach: "Mr Carolan is very modern in his outlook; he knows exactly what he is doing, has a lot of experience and has been coaching overseas."

The SA U19 assistant coach in Durban, Darryn Gallagher, has also won Glutz's admiration: "Mr Gallagher is an ex-Olympic Games player, someone I have always looked up to."

As far as current SA players that Glutz looks up to are concerned, he mentions three: the Paton brothers, Wade and Taine, and SA captain Austin Smith.

Foreign players who get his vote are England and Great Britain drag-flicker Ashley Jackson, as well as Jamie Dwyer of the Australian Kookaburras, one of the world's all-time great players.

Glutz the goalscorer says that the College first side have a disciplined work ethic.

"We train twice a week for two hours per day and on Friday we have penalty corner practice. In the school gym I also follow the hockey-specific training programme that was devised for us."

The Maritzburg College boarder actually lives in the KZN capital. Come to think of it, it's probably because in this way he is just a hop, step and jump away from College's Pape's Astro.

Glutz says that the Maritzburg College first team squad start training about a month before their first match.

"During the first term there are always a few guys who will come down to the turf. I try to get into the College gym as much as I can, mainly strength training, especially for drag-flicking. On our off-days during the season, Nick [Berichon] and I train together, mainly fitness and gym work. I also practise my drag-flicking."

Glutz spent his prep school years at Cordwalles in Pietermaritzburg, where the foundation of his hockey success was laid.

A talented all-round sportsman, he also played fullback for the Cordwalles first XV, while currently he is an attacking middle-order batsman for the College first XI.

He says that choosing hockey over rugby when he got to high school wasn't that hard a decision to make.

"At junior school I enjoyed hockey more than rugby, so when I had to choose between rugby and hockey as my winter sport in high school it was quite an easy choice."

And the success Glutz has had – Maritzburg College first team and SA U16 in grade 10 and SA U18 while still in the U17 age group in grade 11 last year – suggests that opting for the sport you love the most is the right way to go.

"I also play club hockey for Maritzburg Collegians when my school commitments allow me."

As for next year, Glutz is weighing up his options.

"I want to study after school and when I'm finished I definitely want to play [for a club] overseas. I want to study sports management or logistics at varsity. I've got quite a few options; maybe Tuks, UJ, Stellenbosch or UKZN."

There is no doubt that all four would love to sign him up, as high-quality goalscorers are not that easy to come by.

Glutz is a highly regarded drag-flick exponent who has scored a hatful of goals at penalty corners for College, as well as a bagful of high-class field goals, and it is the latter that he enjoys the most.

"The build-up to scoring a goal from field play can happen in so many different ways and from so many different situations and parts of the field. It takes the combination between yourself and your team-mates to score a field goal and there has to be split-second decision making and understanding between all the players involved."

And Glutz and his College team-mates are good at it. At the time of writing, the sharpshooter had already scored 30-something goals in half as many games this season, and in his 60 or so matches for the first team during 2009, 2010 and this year, he was round about the 80-goal mark off his own stick. What has been especially impressive this season has been the number of goals he has made for his team-mates through intelligent, decisive passes when all the defenders' attention has been drawn on to him.

In fact, many a spectator has remarked this season that the Maritzburg College marksman could score more goals for his team if he wasn't so conscious of supplying his team-mates with passes when in the scoring zone. "Glutz should back himself more when he's in the strike zone," was the observation of one such spectator whose knowledge of the game is well respected.

At U16 level, Glutz's provincial team, KZN Inland, won the national title, but last season, at U18 level, the province ended a disappointing seventh, this despite the fact that they enjoyed home-ground advantage at Maritzburg College's Pape's Astro and the adjacent AB Jackson Greenfields Turf.

"Last year our team didn't have the best build-up to the tournament, and then during the IPT the breaks just didn't go our way. It makes us even more determined to win the national U18 IPT this year".

The SA U18 IPT is being held at Kearsney and Westville from June 27 to July 2.

"This is my last year at school and an U18 IPT title would mean a lot to the team. "

If selected, Glutz would also love to play for the KZN Inland senior team at the SA Men's Interprovincial Tournament, which is being held at Kaspersky Randburg Astro Stadium in August.

"I would learn so much against the best players in South Africa, including the senior national team, players who have been to Commonwealth and Olympic Games events as well as World Cups.

"My biggest goal is to one day go to the Olympic Games with the SA team."

No doubt Glutz will give it his best shot to go to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he will still only be 23.

"That's why I want to go and play for a club in Europe once my varsity studies are over; there is still so much to learn."

SA U19 assistant coach Darryn Gallagher, who mentored the side while Brendon Carolan was winding up his commitments with his Irish club, which did well in European competition, added more insight into Grant Glutz the goalscorer.

"As a centre forward he's got the ability to hold up play so he can bring his midfielders and outside forwards into the attack. Glutzie's got good aerial skills, and the ability to eliminate defenders.

"His weaknesses? Sometimes he can be a little bit lazy defensively and on occasion he can also be a little bit hard on himself.

"Grant is a very quiet guy, I've started calling him the gentle giant. He's a big guy who can physically impose himself on defenders. When he is in confident mood, he's untouchable, deadly in and around the circle, and if his goalscoring ability can be developed further, he can become world-class, definitely.

Gallagher continued: "Grant can definitely go all the way but he needs to become more hockey knowledgeable in terms of how to get more ball; he has a knack of hiding a bit. You sometimes think, 'Where's Grant Glutz?' He's the kind of player who should be getting a lot more ball, leading into more pure spaces to get more ball. He's still scoring goals but is a bit quiet when it comes to looking for more ball."

Once he gets these things right, who knows how many goals this superstar in the making will be capable of scoring.

Before long, Glutz could be another member of Maritzburg College coach Mike Bechet's assembly line of Olympians: the (Athens 2004) Evans brothers, Steve and Iain, and the Beijing 2008 quartet of Tommy Hammond, Darryn Gallagher, Marvin Harper and Geoff Abbott [my apologies if I have left anyone out]. Politics aside, the Paton brothers, Gareth Carr should be next in line. The likes of Marc Fourie and Matthew Guise-Brown should be in contention in 2016.

Grant Glutz: Remember the name. He might be joining this select group sooner rather than later.

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