Author: Nic Kerber
The Hockeyroos team has been announced for the upcoming do-or-die Olympic Qualifying Series against Russia to be held in Perth on 25/26 October 2019.
The 18-player team named by Head Coach Paul Gaudoin will face world number 19 ranked Russia in two matches on back to back days, with the winner on aggregate to book their spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
This ‘last shot’ opportunity for the Hockeyroos to qualify for Tokyo 2020 comes after they narrowly lost to New Zealand on goal difference in the best-of-three Oceania Cup last month, which saw the Black Sticks Women qualify automatically.
Experienced South Australian defender Karri McMahon and 22 year old NSW Pride forward Grace Stewart are the two notable inclusions in the Hockeyroos team that will attempt to book Australia’s place at a 10th straight Olympics in women’s hockey.
This qualifying series will be McMahon’s first appearances for the Hockeyroos this year after undergoing knee surgery, while Stewart was an emergency for the Oceania Cup and now gets her opportunity for these two crucial matches.
“Karri is a quality athlete and has shown to be a quality performer,” said Gaudoin.
“She has been training well in our environment here and has also been playing very well for the Adelaide Fire in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League. There have been injuries to some of our other defenders, so an opportunity presents itself.”
“Grace has shown a really good patch of form in recent months and has been handling the ball really well.
“We need to try and find ways to score more goals and she brings an energy to our attacking group. She works hard and has been really focussed at training, so it’s a good opportunity for her to put her best foot forward and establish herself as a more permanent fixture in the group.”
Youngster Amy Lawton, who is not a member of the National squad, continues to hold down her place in the team.
The squad reassembled back in Perth last Monday after spending the past fortnight playing for their respective clubs in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
Gaudoin says there is a highly positive feeling amongst the group and that the players are ready for the task ahead following the disappointment of not qualifying at the first time of trying.
“The results in the Oceania Cup were very close, they could have gone either way and it was obviously disappointing for us, but New Zealand are a very good team and it was always going to be a tough assignment as they have played in the semi finals at the last two Olympic Games,” said Gaudoin.
“Fortunately we get another chance to qualify and we also get an opportunity to train together for a few more weeks in the lead up to these matches which is pleasing.”
“Since the Oceania Cup the players have had a chance to refresh by playing in the Hockey One League which has been great, so I think we’re in reasonable condition going into this event.”
“I am confident with our group. One of the things that happened when we came off a loss in the qualifying series against New Zealand was that it does incite a bit of fire within everyone to get the result we need.”
Ticketing and broadcast details are TBC.
Hockeyroos team – FIH Olympic Qualifying Series v Russia
Name, Date of Birth, Hometown, State, Club, Caps (Goals)
Edwina Bone, 24/04/1988, Orange NSW, Canberra Chill, 195 (4)
Lily Brazel, 26/01/1995, Sydney NSW, HC Melbourne, 48 (1)
Emily Challker, 28/07/1992, Crookwell NSW, NSW Pride, 233 (80)
Jane Claxton, 26/10/1992, Adelaide SA, Adelaide Fire, 175 (18)
Kalindi Commerford , 18/11/1994, Ulladulla ACT, Canberra Chill, 43 (7)
Madison Fitzpatrick, 14/12/1996, Cabarita Beach QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 72 (16)
Jodie Kenny, 18/08/1987, Wamuran QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 227 (111)
Amy Lawton, 19/01/2002, Emerald VIC, HC Melbourne, 8 (2)
Rachael Lynch (GK), 02/07/1986, Warrandyte VIC, HC Melbourne, 218 (0)
Rosie Malone, 08/01/1998, Burleigh QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 46 (11)
Karri McMahon, 27/02/1992, Berri SA, Adelaide Fire, 145 (10)
Kaitlin Nobbs, 24/09/1997, Newington NSW, NSW Pride, 74 (4)
Brooke Peris 16/01/1993, Darwin NT, Canberra Chill, 165 (26)
Grace Stewart, 24/04/1997, Gerringong NSW, NSW Pride, 79 (22)
Renee Taylor, 28/09/1996, Everton Park QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 75 (8)
Sophie Taylor, 12/09/1995, Melbourne VIC, HC Melbourne, 29 (1)
Ashlee Wells (GK), 1/08/1989, Morwell VIC, Adelaide Fire, 118 (0)
Mariah Williams, 31/05/1995, Parkes NSW, NSW Pride, 79 (13)
FIH Olympic Qualifying Series
Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University, WA
Friday 25 October 2019
Hockeyroos v Russia (3:00pm AWST, 6:00pm AEDT)
Saturday 26 October 2019
Hockeyroos v Russia (7:00pm AWST, 10:00pm AEDT)