Hockey Australia today announces the 20-member Hockeyroos team to play in the upcoming matches in China and Europe as the 2019 FIH Pro League nears its conclusion.
The Hockeyroos face five matches in three weeks to round out of the FIH Pro League, plus hopefully two more matches in the finals to be played in the Netherlands in late June.
Australia currently sits third in the women’s FIH Pro League standings, ahead of the June matches against China (2 June), Great Britain (9 June), Germany (16 June), Belgium (19 June) and the Netherlands (23 June).
The Hockeyroos are behind the Netherlands and Argentina on the standings but remain in a tight battle with upcoming opponents Belgium (fourth) and Germany (fifth) for finals spots.
The selectors have made several changes from the team which claimed two wins and a shootout loss in the Pacific leg against New Zealand, Argentina and USA.
Queensland defender/midfielder Renee Taylor returns from a shoulder injury after being out of action since September 2018.
Taylor returns along with Jocelyn Bartram, Rebecca Greiner, Penny Squibb and Mariah Williams. Kristina Bates, Kate Jenner, Amy Lawton, Michaela Spano, Ash Wells and Georgia Wilson have made way.
Hockeyroos head coach Paul Gaudoin said: “Selection was a big challenge. We came off a reasonably successful Pacific leg where it was good to hit some field goals.
“It was difficult at the selection table but there have been some changes.
“It’s great to see Renee Taylor back in form after injuring her shoulder. She hasn’t played for quite a while so it’ll be interesting to see how she goes.
“Mariah Williams has also had a lay-off and she’ll be back into the side. She’s starting to show some good form in training.”
Gaudoin said the Hockeyroos were bullish about their FIH Pro League finals chances but also keeping an eye on the Oceania Cup in Rockhampton in September which will serve as Australia’s Olympic qualifier for Tokyo 2020.
“We’re hoping to make finals,” Gaudoin said. “We’re also trying to make sure we give a number of players in our squad an opportunity to perform.
“We’re keen to do well in this FIH Pro League leg and we’ve also got a small eye on the Oceania Cup, which is our Olympic qualifier later in the year.
“We’re keen to make sure we’ve got a group that’s pushing for selection for the Oceania Cup as well.
“With the group we’ve got we’re confident we can do some good things in China and Europe.
“We’re playing some tough teams, they’re all quality sides and they’re a bit different to what we played in the Pacific leg.
“It’s a bit of a challenge to play against teams who are tighter in defence to score field goals but we’re looking forward to it.”
The team is due to fly out of Perth for China today.