Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens has announced his 27-athlete training squad in preparation for November’s Champions Trophy in Argentina, and a warm-up Test series against New Zealand in Wellington. The announcement comes following the conclusion of the Australian Hockey League (AHL) powered by Premier Technology Solutions.
The selection demonstrates a desire to offer more opportunity for a broader group of athletes to experience top level international competition with a view towards the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond. Commens and the selection panel have also taken the chance to provide several senior athletes with a well-earned rest period following an intensive couple of years.
From the 27-athlete group, a squad of 18 will be selected in the first week of November to take part in a three Test series against the New Zealand Black Sticks women in Wellington before heading to the Champions Trophy in Mendoza, Argentina.
In total, nine of the squad are uncapped at senior international level while a further four have only a handful of caps between them. Of those new faces Tamsin Bunt, Kathryn Slattery and Amelia Spence have been part of the women’s development squad this year, while Georgina Morgan, Gabrielle Nance, Audrey Smith, Penny Squibb and Katy Symons have all been members of the National Junior Squad in recent times. Stephanie Kershaw is part of Hockey Australia’s National Futures Group. With the exception of Spence, all were involved in Australia’s 11-match development tour to China and Japan in August.
Of those newer faces with previous senior international experience, Rebecca Dwyer (nee Reuter), Mathilda Carmichael and Mariah Williams all made their debuts for the Hockeyroos in 2013. Kate Denning has made one appearance for the Hockeyroos, against Germany in 2009, following in the footsteps of her mother Elspeth who won Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988.
The inclusion of all 13 of those athletes in particular provides tangible recognition of the greater emphasis placed by Hockey Australia on its Junior, Development and Futures programs. Those pathways and athletes have been well supported by the National Training Centre network and the State Institute and Academies of Sport.
The squad also contains ten members of Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold medal winning team from Glasgow and a further two – goalkeeper Ashlee Wells and Kirstin Dwyer – who won World Cup silver in The Hague in June. Experienced defensive midfielder Teneal Attard returns having withdrawn from the World Cup squad with a leg injury, while Anna Flanagan and Casey Eastham, although named, will continue to play in the Dutch league with MOP and Pinoke respectively in the run-up to the series.
Announcing the selection, National Coach Adam Commens said, “In picking a group that contains ten of our Commonwealth Games team, plus Ashlee Wells and Kirstin Dwyer from our World Cup team, it’s a clear signal that we have a strong squad preparing for the Champions Trophy and we plan to be very competitive when we get to Argentina.
“However, there’s definitely also an eye to the future with the selection of younger talent across each line of our team structure. We went into 2014 with a squad of only 23 athletes and we’re looking to increase that in 2015. In the lead up to the Rio Olympic Games it’s important that we look to broaden our group and the Champions Trophy will give us a chance to look at more players.”
Captain Madonna Blyth, goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, midfielder Ashleigh Nelson and defender Jayde Taylor have all been rested to ensure them a proper recovery ahead of 2015 and the final 18 months of preparation for Rio 2016. It follows a busy 24 months in which the Hockeyroos have won Champions Challenge gold, World League Semi-Final gold, World League Final silver, World Cup silver and Commonwealth Games gold, while ascending to second in the FIH world rankings. Injury has ruled out Georgie Parker and Kate Jenner.
Hockeyroos’ Upcoming Fixtures
Saturday 15 November – Test v New Zealand – Wellington, New Zealand – 1pm AEDT
Sunday 16 November – Test v New Zealand – Wellington, New Zealand – 1pm AEDT
Tuesday 18 November – Test v New Zealand – Wellington, New Zealand – 5pm AEDT
Saturday 29 November – Champions Trophy v England – Mendoza, Argentina – 6:30am AEDT
Sunday 30 November – Champions Trophy v Argentina – Mendoza, Argentina – 9am AEDT
Tuesday 2 December – Champions Trophy v Germany – Mendoza, Argentina - 3am AEDT
Thursday 4 December – Champions Trophy quarter finals – Mendoza, Argentina
Saturday 6 December – Champions Trophy semi-final/playoffs – Mendoza, Argentina
Sunday 7 December – Champions Trophy medal matches/playoffs – Mendoza, Argentina
Australian women’s squad – Champions Trophy preparation
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD)
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT)
Tamsin Bunt (Bathurst, NSW)
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kate Denning (South Perth, WA)
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD)
Rebecca Dwyer (Brisbane, QLD)
Casey Eastham (South Coast, NSW)
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Claire Messent (Melbourne, VIC)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Gabrielle Nance (Adelaide, SA)
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Audrey Smith (Wynnum, QLD)
Amelia Spence (Hobart, TAS)
Penny Squibb (Tambellup, WA)
Katy Symons (Attadale, WA)
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC)
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW)
Mariah Williams (Teralba, NSW)