Following the recent successful tour of Argentina the Hockeyroos will continue to expose more new players to the world’s best team in the build up to the 2012 London Olympics when Australia takes on Argentina in Canberra and Sydney in early April.
Four new players will get their first taste of international hockey during the matches in Canberra with Elizabeth Duguid (NT), Jacklyn McRae (NSW), Sally O’Toole (QLD) and Hollie Webster (NSW) set to make their debuts.
The Canberra series will also see the return of key defender Teneal Attard after suffering an ACL injury last September at the 2010 World Cup. Former Hockeyroos Holly Evans and Renee Trost, who has not been part of the Hockeyroos squad since being an emergency at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will also make a return to international hockey at the Canberra series.
The Hockeyroos will look to continue their success against Argentina, which saw them defeat the World #1 team in the final of the Mendoza Four Nations tournament in Argentina.
Australiacoach Adam Commens said exposing even more players to the world’s best team is a crucial for the preparation for the London Olympics.
“After a successful tour of Argentina, we will continue the theme of exposing as many players as possible to international competition in the early stages of our preparation towards London. It is our intention to have an open selection policy during this phase so we can observe the different dynamics and combinations that are available to the Hockeyroos,” said Commens.
Commens said all four of the debutants deserved the opportunity after impressing during recent matches with Australia A and at the Hockeyroos training camp earlier this year.
“Webster did very well at the recent matches for Australia A against France and also at the training camp. We targeted giving her an opportunity in the first half of this year. Dugrid has really impressed with her goalkeeping for Australia A and we obviously rate Sally O’Toole quite highly after offering her an AIS scholarship earlier in the year. Jackie McRae has been a consistent performer for some time now for both Australia A and NSW and we felt that she deserved her chance at the international level,” said Commens.
Commens said this series would be an important stepping stone in Attard’s recovery from what was her third ACL injury.
“It’s good to have Teneal back in the squad. It’s important to note that we will need to assess her physical ability for her to maintain her standard at the international level. For her the next six months will be about consolidating her spot moving forward,” said Commens.
Commens also noted his delight in seeing veteran Renee Trost work her way back into the team after not being involved in the international program for almost three years.
“She is an outstanding athlete who is physically superior and has a high aerobic capacity, something which was evident during the training camp earlier in the year. We wanted to see how she went at the next level and she will be given her chance during these matches,” said Commens.
For the Sydney leg of the Hockeyroos series, there will be a number of further changes, with a squad of 20 players selected. Kate Jenner will re-join the squad from injury, as will Jade Warrender, Kandice Olivieri, Bianca Greenshields, Rachael Lynch and Jill Dwyer.
“This selection further highlights our policy of exploring new combinations as we attempt to find the right balance between youth and experience, speed and aerobic power, playmaking ability and solid tactical play,” said Commens.
An Australia A side will also travel to Canberra to take on both the Hockeyroos and Argentina in order to create more depth in the national program. This sees Hockeyroo Emily Hurtz return from injury for the first time since dislocating her shoulder at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and will also see national squad members Jill Dwyer, Bianca Greenshields, Kate Jenner, Heather Langham, Rachael Lynch, Georgia Nanscawen, Kandice Olivieri and Jade Warrender compete for Australia A in Canberra. Development squad members such as Kate Hollywood, Stacia Joseph, Elise Stacy and Ashlee Wells will also compete for Australia A in these matches.
CANBERRA SERIES – All matches at National Hockey Centre - Lyneham
Australia A v Argentina 6pm Friday 1 April
Hockeyroos v Argentina 5pm Saturday 2 April
Hockeyroos v Australia A 4pm Sunday 3 April
Australia A v Argentina 2pm Monday 4 April
Hockeyroos v Argentina 7pm Tuesday 5 April
SYDNEY SERIES – All matches at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Hockeyroos v Argentina 7pm Friday 8 April
Hockeyroos v Argentina 4pm Saturday 9 April
Source: Australia Hockey Press Release
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