MOLLYMOOK’S Kalindi Commerford and her Hockeyroos have warmed up for their 2018 FIH Champions Trophy campaign with a 2-1 win over hosts China PR, ahead of Saturday’s opening game against Argentina.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Skipper Emily Smith scored Australia’s opener with a field goal, before veteran Jodie Kenny netted a late drag flick from a penalty corner to clinch the win in the 2x15-minute game.
The Hockeyroos arrived in Changzhou earlier this week, with the side acclimatising to the cold and wet Chinese conditions.
Hockeyroos defender Karri McMahon, who will compete at her third Champions Trophy, said the team had prepared well.
“It’s a bit of a different climate than what we’re used to,” McMahon said.
“It’ll be a challenge for us.
“Also being in a massive major city, compared to Perth where we train, will bring a different challenge in itself.
“Keeping the team fit and healthy will be another challenge and preparations for that started weeks ago.”
Third-ranked Australia will come up against hosts China (ranked 11th), defending champions Argentina (fourth), Olympic champions Great Britain (England ranked second), world number one Netherlands and the invited Japan (14th) at the Champions Trophy, which will be held for the last time before the introduction of the new FIH Pro League in 2019.
Australia rose to the number three ranking following their fourth place at the World Cup in July/August where they knocked out Argentina, who they’ll face in their Champions Trophy opener on Saturday at 7pm AEDT.
The Hockeyroos suffered heartbreak in the semi-finals after a gallant 1-all draw with world number one Netherlands, before losing in a shootout to the Dutch who are the Champions Trophy favourites.
Australia's World Cup semi-final appearance showed the side's growth following major changes after failing to medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, having also finished as runners-up at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.
“As a group we really want to put together some strong performances following on from the World Cup,” McMahon said.
“It’s not quite the same team but we still want to have an improved style of play from that again.
“We want to start to look towards our selections for next year and Tokyo.
“For us, it’s about putting in some performances we’re proud of and look back in time and reflect on it as something special for everyone.”
The national selectors have called up three uncapped players; Rebecca Greiner, Greta Hayes and Penny Squibb, who have spent the past fortnight training with the squad.
Berri-born defender McMahon said the newcomers had brought plenty of enthusiasm, in a boost to their hopes of winning the trophy.
“We’ve got a really strong chance after the World Cup,” she said.
“We’ve got some enthusiasm coming through the group with some new selections which will put us in good stead to contend for it.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.