HOCKEY Australia announced on Wednesday the 27-member 2019 national senior women’s squad, which features Mollymook’s Kalindi Commerford and Gerringong’s Grace Stewart, as the team builds towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Hockeyroos, who finished the 2018 year ranked third after being runners-up at the Champions Trophy in November, will compete in the inaugural FIH Pro League from January to June next year, followed by the Oceania Cup which is the qualification event for the Tokyo Olympics.
The selection panel considered a number of priorities upon selecting the squad, with a long-term view to medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with achieving performance benchmarks in 2019 at the Pro League and Olympic qualification.
The selection panel also looked to reward impressive performances within the daily training environment and national/international matches throughout 2018.
“We’ve selected the 2019 squad with a good eye on Tokyo,” Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said.
"We’re looking to narrow our focus towards Tokyo and have identified the key skills we believe necessary to enable success.
“It’s been a tough process – there’s a lot of good players who’ve missed out.
“But we want to give some opportunities to people who’ve been performing well in our national level, internationally or in their domestic environment.”
There are five new inclusions in the 2019 national senior women’s squad, with Rebecca Greiner, Greta Hayes, Hayley Padget, Penny Squibb and Sophie Taylor added after all debuted in 2018.
Queensland pair Ashlea Fey and Jordyn Holzberger and Victorian forward Emily Hurtz are omitted from the 2019 squad, while West Australian forward Kathryn Slattery has opted to step away from the national program indefinitely.
“It’s difficult to make these tough decisions,” Gaudoin said.
“Performances have been taken into account over the past year and more.
“While it’s disappointing for those who miss out, we’re excited about those coming in as well.”
“We wish Slatts all the best and we’ll see where it takes her.
“The door is definitely not closed with her on returning.”
The squad, whom are now on a break after finishing runners-up at last month’s Champions Trophy, will reconvene for training in Perth on Monday, January 14.
The Hockeyroos will play world number one the Netherlands in their opening game of the inaugural FIH Pro League in Melbourne on Saturday, February 2.