The Hockeyroos 18-member team for this month’s Tri Nations series against New Zealand and Japan will have a real South Coast feel with Gerringong’s Grace Stewart and Ulladulla’s Kalindi Commerford both named in the squad.
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Hockey Australia has announced the team for the series in Cromwell, New Zealand, which will be crucial preparation for the Hockeyroos ahead of the 2018 World Cup in London in July and August where they’re pooled with both New Zealand and Japan, along with Belgium.
Australia are currently ranked fifth in the world, behind New Zealand who are fourth while Japan are 12th.
The Black Sticks defeated the Hockeyroos in the Commonwealth Games gold medal match on the Gold Coast last month, with the national selectors making six changes from the games team with a view to giving players an opportunity to show their wares.
Commerford, Kristina Bates, Lily Brazel, Madison Fitzpatrick, Kathryn Slattery and Ashlee Wells come into the team, having not been included for the Commonwealth Games.
Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said the team wasn’t able to get the result it wanted at the Commonwealth Games and wanted to give some players an opportunity to show what they can do.
“We think we can get some better knowledge and information for when we select the final group for the World Cup,” he said.
The Hockeyroos will play four round-robin fixtures at the Tri Nations plus finals from May 19-27.
Gaudoin said there was plenty to gain from the Tri Nations.
“We want to ensure we’re still unpredictable when we get to the World Cup,” he said.
“We also want to use this tournament as an opportunity to individually develop some players.
“Also we want to make sure we’re working on creating and scoring more goals.
“Our defence was solid at the Commonwealth Games but we need to find ways to create more chances and finish those chances.”
Captain Emily Smith and defender Jodie Kenny are both in line to bring up their 200th caps during the tour.
The Hockeyroos team for Tri Nations: Kristina Bates (Mont Albert, VIC), Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW), Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *plays for ACT, Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *plays for VIC, Kalindi Commerford (Mollymook, NSW) *plays for ACT, Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *plays for QLD, Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *plays for QLD, Emily Hurtz (Sydney, NSW) *plays for VIC, Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD), Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD), Karri McMahon (Berri, SA), Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW), Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT), Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA), Emily Smith (c) (Crookwell, NSW), Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW), Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD), Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC).
Tri Nations Women’s International Hockey Schedule (all times AEST): Sunday, May 20 12:30pm - New Zealand v Australia; Monday, May 21 4:30pm - Australia v Japan; Wednesday, May 23 4:30pm - New Zealand vs Australia; Thursday, May 24 4:30pm - Australia v Japan; Saturday, May 26 2:30pm - Playoff for final (2nd vs 3rd); Sunday, May 27 12:30pm - Final.
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