Hockeyroos target World Cup qualification22 May 2013
HOCKEY: The Hockeyroos will welcome back a number of familiar faces as they head to Europe for next month’s Investec Hockey World League in London with the aim of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. The 20 athlete squad strikes a strong balance of experience and youth with seven athletes also eligible for the U21s and July’s Junior World Cup.
Former World Young Player of the Year Casey Eastham (NSW), Jordyn Holzberger (QLD), Jodie Schulz (QLD) and Jade Warrender (NSW) are among those returning to the side following injury. Emily Hurtz (NSW) is selected after spending the season playing club hockey for Dutch side Amsterdam.
Two recent debutants are also named. Edwina Bone (ACT) and Jane Claxton (SA) have received the call-up from Head Coach Adam Commens following their performances against Korea in Perth last month. Claxton is one of those still eligible for selection to the Jillaroos squad alongside Jade Warrender, Emily Smith, Anna Flanagan, Jordyn Holzberger, Karri McMahon and Georgia Nanscawen, who at 20 recently became the youngest player to play 100 matches for the Hockeyroos.
Announcing the selection, Commens said, “We’ve had a good build-up to the World League with the matches against Korea and the Jillaroos recently. Those games have given lots of players the opportunity show what they can do and the performances and form we’ve seen have been taken into consideration.
“The inclusion of our younger athletes shows the strength of the talent coming through the program.”
Commenting on Emily Hurtz’s inclusion, Commens added, “Emily is coming off the back of some good form for Amsterdam, which is one of the best teams in Europe.”
To qualify for next year’s World Cup, the Hockeyroos will need to finish in the top three in London. Initial sights will be on performing well in a Pool containing the hosts England, South Africa and Spain. A cross-over quarter final against one of the four sides from Pool A, either World champions and Olympic silver medallists Argentina, China, USA or Italy will determine whether Australia contest the World Cup qualification spots.
Outlining his expectations for the Hockeyroos in London, Commens said, “Our aim is to qualify for the World Cup and to perform well in the medal rounds. We’ve had good results against all of our World League opponents in the past 18 months so that gives us confidence.”
Australia will warm-up for the competition with a series of preparatory matches against Belgium, Germany, England, the Netherlands and China.
Nine of those named in the squad were part of the Hockeyroos side that finished fifth on their last visit to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, two places higher than their ranking at the time. The four week tour to Europe is likely to see Madonna Blyth win her 250th cap for the Hockeyroos with the double Olympian having made 248 appearances for the national team since her debut in 2004.
The final 18 athlete squad for the World League tournament will be confirmed just prior to the start of the event.
Hockeyroos Squad for European Tour and Investec Hockey World League (4 June – 2 July 2013):
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD)
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD)
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Toni Cronk (Sydney, NSW)
Casey Eastham (Albion Park, NSW)
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT)
Jordyn Holzberger (Ipswich, QLD)
Emily Hurtz (Camden, NSW)
Kirstin Johnson (Mackay, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC)
Karri McMahon (Townsville, SA)
Claire Messent (Berwick, VIC)
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC)
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA)
Georgie Parker (Adelaide, SA)
Jodie Schulz (Wamuran, QLD)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Jade Warrender (Orange, NSW)
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW)
Hockeyroos’ Preparatory Matches
8 June v Belgium
9 June v Germany
11 June v Netherlands
15 June v England
16 June v England
18 June v China
Hockeyroos’ Investec Hockey World League Fixtures
22 June v Spain (Pool B match)
23 June v England (Pool B match)
25 June v South Africa (Pool B match)
27 June v TBC (Quarter-Final)
29 June v TBC (Classification or Semi-Final)
30 June v TBC (Classification or Medal Match)