Stewart scores again as Hockeyroos defeat China

Published Thu 15 Feb 2024

Grace Stewart's fourth goal in as many matches helped the Hockeyroos claim redemption against China, in a win that saw Alice Arnott put on her second Player of the Match performance of the series.

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Pre-match, coach Katrina Powell was confident China had caught Australia “on the hop”, in their opening match last week, and now she warned they were a much more settled team ready to finally claim the win they had been hunting over China since Season One.
China, who are steadily becoming a powerhouse of the game, was confident, riding a high and happily sitting second on the FIH Pro League standings.
As the clock ticked down to half-time, both sides were delivering on the rivalry the game had promised.
The Hockeyroos were frustrating China, renting all of the space in their half and as China’s goalie Xinhuan Li blocked one attempt after another, it was only a matter of time before Australia’s persistence paid off.
Australia were winning penalty corner after penalty corner and their time finally came through a graceful touch by Grace Stewart, set up perfectly by NSW’s Alice Arnott and Australia had the lead over China 1-0.

NSW's Arnott, who was playing in just her 7th match for Australia, later celebrated Player of the Match for the second time this season.
And as some fresh talent staked their claim, the Hockeyroos also welcomed back a familiar face - the experienced Mariah Williams, who hadn't played since the Oceania Cup in August last year.
"It felt really good to be out there with the girls, coming back into the side this year I feel really fit, really good," Mariah said post-match.

"I've had a bit of a hamstring niggle but I've done heaps of rehab and the hammys are feeling great. Sitting out on the sideline just shows how much more you want it and really inspires you to want to get out there with the girls but it also allows you to learn what you can take back onto the field with the team."

In the fourth, China upped the intensity in a desperate bid to claim a goal, even leaving their own exposed as all 11 players fought right up until the end of the match.
But as they left their goal wide open, Australia saw their moment to strike. Steph Kershaw sealing the deal and finally ending the hoodoo for the Hockeyroos against a strong Chinese team with a 2-0 win.
"We were much hungrier, we took the learnings and we wanted to go out there with a really good game plan and we did, and the girls just found the back of the net... the girls did really well all over the pitch," Mariah said.
The Hockeyroos face a swift turnaround when they take on the USA tomorrow evening, 7pm (AEDT).
"For us it's just building from here, no matter what happens in the next few games we are building and the main goal is Paris so I'm hoping the girls just go out there against USA and keep building on the play we have been doing."
The Kookaburras continue their campaign just a few hours later tomorrow night when they take on hosts India, in front of what will be a raucous crowd.
Match Details
China: 0
Hockeyroos: 2 (Grace Stewart 29’, Steph Kershaw 57’)
In Rourkela, India
Hockeyroos: 1. Claire Colwill, 4. Amy Lawton, 5. Grace Young, 8. Maddison Brooks, 11. Alice Arnott, 15. Kaitlin Nobbs (c), 17. Lucy Sharman, 19. Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20. Karri Sommerville, 29. Rebecca Greiner, 30. Grace Stewart, 2. Rosie Malone, 13. Hattie Shand, 14. Steph Kershaw, 18. Jane Claxton, 22. Tatum Stewart, 24. Mariah Williams
Unused substitute: 41. Zoe Newman (gk)