Emily Smith announced as Australian Hockey captain
19 September 2017
HOCKEY: Dual-Olympian Emily Smith has been appointed as the new permanent captain of the Australian women's hockey team.
Smith takes up the captaincy following long-term skipper Madonna Blyth’s retirement last year, with Jane Claxton holding the role on an interim basis.
The 25-year-old forward, who hails from Crookwell in country NSW, will be supported by Claxton, Rachael Lynch, Kathryn Slattery and Karri McMahon in the leadership group.
The appointment was made ahead of Tuesday’s announcement of the Hockeyroos 18-member team for October’s Oceania Cup against New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in Sydney.
Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said: “We haven’t rushed into selecting our captain or leadership group over the past year. We’ve had interim leadership groups for tournaments, but we’ve utilised the year to explore the playing group and see what we really needed.
“Emily has shown a consistent approach to her hockey, she’s well respected by her peers and her staff, so it was a pretty simple decision in the end.
“She certainly gives her all when she’s out on the pitch. We’re looking forward to her showing strong leadership and developing her leadership over time too.”
Smith, who has scored 65 goals in 163 matches for Australia, said it was an exciting time to take over as skipper, with a young group moving forward with a view to next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“I’m excited and honoured to be handed the captaincy,” said Smith, who was part of Australia’s 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games squads.
“I’m looking forward to what lay ahead for myself and the team, with a young squad.
“The future is looking bright in Australian hockey so it’s going to be an exciting to lead that.
“I’ve had the opportunity to play under an experienced figure like Madonna Blyth and I’ve learned from her over the last couple of years.
“I’m going to use all of that experience and draw upon my teammates around me to ensure we’re headed in the right direction.”
The Oceania Cup takes place at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre from 11-15 October.