The Hockeyroos finished 2018 rising up to be the world’s third-ranked side following a calendar year of near-misses at three major tournaments but also plenty of growth.
The side’s development bodes well for next year’s inaugural FIH Pro League which starts in Australia in February where some of the best international teams in the world will meet on a home-and-away basis. Matches will be played in Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and Sydney.
Commonwealth Games silver medal :
Entering a home Commonwealth Games as the third highest ranked team in the tournament, the Hockeyroos were satisfied to claim a silver medal on the Gold Coast, although it’s never easy to lose a final.
Australia enjoyed a superb group stage, where they didn’t concede a goal and manage to top the pool ahead of favourites New Zealand. Grace Stewart scored a memorable volley in the semi-final win over India, before a 4-1 loss to the Black Sticks in the decider.
Tri Nations triumph :
The Hockeyroos claimed their only trophy for 2018 in chilly Cromwell in the South Island of New Zealand in May. Australia knocked off their Commonwealth Games conquerors 4-1 in the final, having dominated the four-game group stage against the Black Sticks and Japan.
Jodie Kenny, Emily Smith and Ash Wells all brought up major milestones during the tournament too.
World Cup semi-finals run :
The Hockeyroos’ emergence continued at the World Cup in London in July and August, as the side again topped a pool which included New Zealand, Belgium and Japan as newcomer Rosie Malone netted on her World Cup debut.
Australia’s top spot meant they avoided the crossovers, taking on Argentina in the quarter-finals before a dramatic shootout victory where goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was heroic and Brooke Peris finished the job.
Four Nations runners-up :
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in sight, the Hockeyroos headed for Japan in September taking on the hosts, Korea and USA.
Australia recorded a perfect pool phase with three wins from three games, including debut goals to Hayley Padget and Naomi Evans.
Sadly in the final the Hockeyroos were beaten 2-1 by Japan despite Renee Taylor giving them the lead early on. Jane Claxton reached her 150th cap during the series too.
Champions Trophy runners-up :
The Hockeyroos received an invitation to compete at the last-ever Champions Trophy, held in China in November and impressed early on, knocking off Olympic gold medallists Great Britain and reigning champions Argentina in their first two games.
The side’s momentum stuttered during the tournament but they managed to finish second on the standings and qualify for the decider. The world number one Dutch, though, proved relentless with a 5-1 crushing of Australia in the final although Maddy Fitzpatrick’s goal in the decider was a highlight.