The youth trend will continue for the Hockeyroos at the Samsung Hockey Champions Trophy – Women 2009 tournament, with coach Frank Murray announcing eight players with 20 games or less experience in his 2009 Champions Trophy squad.
With seven of the squad members from NSW, it is fitting that the event will take place in Sydney from 11-19 July.
The squad, which has an average of 58 games experience per player, demonstrates the emergence of a new look Hockeyroos side following the retirement of veterans Nikki Hudson, Angie Lambert, Melanie Wells, Rebecca Sanders, Suzie Faulkner and Sarah Young.
As the first major international tournament since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, coach Frank Murray says the youthful nature of the squad reflects the reality of building a new team for the next Olympic cycle.
“As is normal at the end of each Olympic cycle we have seen retirements that have included key players; this has provided a number of opportunities” said Murray.
In a demonstration of the youthful nature of the squad, six players will compete in their first ever Champions Trophy event. Five of this group made their international debuts two weeks ago during the Spar Cup tournament in South Africa where Australia defeated world number two, Argentina, in the final.
NSW native and Beijing squad member Casey Eastham says she is looking forward to taking it up to the world’s best countries on home soil.
“Following Beijing, the players are looking forward to getting back into top-flight competition. I am really excited to play in front of our home crowd, and I know everyone will get behind us,” said Eastham.
Eastham, the baby of the team in Beijing at 19 years of age, will be joined by the even younger 17-year old Georgia Nanscawen from Victoria.
Still adjusting to the fact that she is a Hockeyroo, Nanscawen says she never expected to make the Champions Trophy squad.
“Firstly I was surprised that I had made the national squad at such a young age, and then my goal was to just play my first game. I never set out to make the Champions Trophy squad, but now that I have made it, I’m looking forward to playing the best teams in the world. And the fact that the event is held in Australia makes it even better,” said Nanscawen.
Team Australia: Nicole Arrold, Madonna Blyth, Alison Bruce, Casey Eastham, Toni Cronk, Kate Hollywood, Emily Hurtz, Fiona Johnson, Stacia Joseph, Heather Langham, Rachael Lynch, Kobie McGurk, Hope Munro, Georgia Nanscawen, Ashleigh Nelson, Sarah O’Connor, Megan Rivers, Kim Walker.
Source: Hockey Australia
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