New coach Adam Commens has wasted little time making his mark on the Hockeyroos squad, bringing seven new young players into the national squad.
Following last weeks national training camp in which over 60 players from across the country participated, almost a third of the Hockeyroos squad has changed from 2010 in an attempt to fast track several players ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.
The new comers are Jill Dwyer, Bianca Greenshields, Marnie Hudson, Kandice Olivieri, Jodie Schultz, Jade Warrender and Kellie White. Jade Close, who played six senior games in 2010, has also been included in the national squad for the first time.
Commens said he was encouraged by the amount of talent shown by the players at the training camp.
“Overall I think we have an exciting group. It was pleasing to see how much talent was out there at the camp. When it came time to select the final 24 for the national squad it was actually quite difficult and there were several players who were not far away. However the 24 players we selected were the standout players. It was good for everyone to start with a clean slate and show what they can do,” said Commens.
In an indication of the style of play Commens intends for the team, many of the new players will bring speed and scoring power to the Hockeyroos, areas which have been lacking from the team in recent times.
“A lot of the new players will bring speed in the front. Jade Close, Marnie Hudson, Kandice Olivieri are all strikers and Jill Dwyer is an attacking midfielder. We were looking to inject some speed into the team and not only do these girls bring that but they also have good ball control at pace. I think they can assist the strikers we already have and they will receive good support from the quality midfielders in the team such as Casey Eastham, Megan Rivers and Ashleigh Nelson,” said Commens.
In an attempt to match it with some of the more physical European nations, Commens said he purposefully targeted athletic and strong bodied players for the squad.
“That is one area where we need to improve. In the past it has been the Hockeyroos who have set the tone in terms of physicality, and we need to get back to that,” said Commens.
Aware that there is little time remaining until the 2012 London Olympics, Commens said that he hoped bringing some younger players into the squad now would help them gain experience and fast track their development.
“It is going to be a big test for these girls when we play some good teams over the next few months. We will see how they handle it, it is a big step up to this level of hockey,” said Commens.
Their first opportunity to do so will come sooner rather than later, with the Hockeyroos set to play world number one team Argentina, USA and Germany in a series of matches in Argentina from February 9-20.
“There is only 18 months left until the London Olympics so we need to work quickly and one way to do that is to expose our players against quality teams as often as possible,” said Commens.
Three players who were previously in the national squad – Kate Hollywood, Alison Bruce and Stacia Joseph, have been retained in the development squad.
“All three showed enough during the camp to suggest they are worth having in the group. They need to work hard to improve their games so that they can force their way back into the senior side,” said Commens.
Former Hockeyroo Renee Trost has also worked her way back into the program, securing a place in the development squad. At 30 years of age, Trost has not been in the national program since travelling to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an emergency.
“She did very well at the camp. Physically, she is one of the best players in the whole program. That strength and her ability to break the lines could see her move back into the national squad and when she plays over the next few months we will see where she is placed at an international level,” said Commens.
In addition to selecting the national and development squads, Commens has also awarded AIS scholarships to six younger players outside of the Hockeyroos squad. Commens said this was done keeping an eye to the future to assure long term success.
“We need to be continually building for the future and I feel that these girls could be a chance to make it in the team for the London Olympics. But if they don’t, it is important that we begin their development for beyond London so they will be ready down the line in order for the team to have sustained success,” said Commens.
2011 Hockeyroos squad
Nicole Arrold (ACT), Teneal Attard (QLD) Madonna Blyth (QLD), Fiona Boyce (WA), Jade Close (NSW), Toni Cronk (NSW), Jill Dwyer (QLD), Casey Eastham (NSW), Anna Flanagan (ACT), Bianca Greensheilds (SA), Marnie Hudson (QLD), Emily Hurtz (NSW), Kate Jenner (NSW), Heather Langham (NT), Rachael Lynch (VIC), Kobie McGurk (WA), Georgia Nanscawen (VIC), Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Kandice Olivieri (QLD), Megan Rivers (NSW), Jodie Schulz (QLD), Jayde Taylor (WA), Jade Warrender (NSW), Kellie White (NSW)
2011 National Development squad
Alison Bruce (NSW), Kary Chau (VIC), Holly Evans (SA), Suzie Harris (NSW) Kate Hollywood (NSW), Stacia Joseph (VIC), Jacklyn McRae (NSW), Claire Messent (VIC), Sally O’Toole (QLD), Georgie Parker (SA), Elise Stacy (SA), Renee Trost (VIC), Hollie Webster (NSW), Ashlee Wells (VIC), Emily Wilson (TAS)
AIS Scholarship Offers
Anna Flanagan (ACT), Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Bianca Greenshields (SA), Eliza Brazel (NSW), Eliza Duguid (NT), Emily Hurtz (NSW), Emily Smith (NSW), Fiona Boyce (WA), Georgia Nanscawen (VIC), Georgie Parker (SA), Heather Langham (NT), Hollie Webster (NSW), Jade Close (NSW), Jade Warrender (NSW), Jayde Taylor (WA), Jill Dwyer (QLD), Jodie Schulz (QLD), Jordyn Holzberger (QLD), Kandice Olivieri (QLD), Kate Jenner (NSW), Katelin Marks (QLD), Kellie White (NSW), Kobie McGurk (WA), Madonna Blyth (QLD), Marnie Hudson (QLD), Megan Rivers (NSW), Rachael Lynch (VIC), Sally O’Toole (QLD), Teneal Attard (QLD), Toni Cronk (NSW)
Source: Hockey Australia
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