Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin is excited about the impact of defensive duo Georgina Morgan and Madison Fitzpatrick at the 2018 Women’s World Cup in London following long-term injuries.
Australia begins their 2018 World Cup campaign on Sunday 5am (AEST) against Japan at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
Armidale’s Morgan and Cabarita Waters’ Fitzpatrick were part of the Hockeyroos team that arrived in London last Thursday and defeated India in a practice match on Monday 3-0.
Morgan, who has 66 caps and 16 goals to her name, last represented Australia more than 12 months ago at last year’s World League Semi-Finals in Belgium, with a foot injury keeping her sidelined.
Gaudoin was full of praise for 25-year-old Morgan who he felt was only an “outside chance” to make the team barely a few months ago.
“Credit to Georgia, she’s worked extremely hard and has come back with a renewed vigour about what she wants to do with her hockey,” Gaudoin said.
“That’s rubbing off on many of the players and staff. It’s great to see someone who really wants to play for her country and do well. It’s a credit to her.
“She was probably an outside chance of making this team but she’s fully deserves her position in this team. I look forward to her having a pretty solid tournament.”
Fitzpatrick’s stint on the sidelines hasn’t been as lengthy, last playing for Australia in November coincidentally against upcoming opponent Japan, with shin and adductor injuries keeping her out.
The pair both bolster the Hockeyroos’ backline, which proved so strong at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast earlier this year by not conceding a goal until the gold medal match which ended in defeat to New Zealand.
Morgan and 21-year-old Fitzpatrick, who has netted 12 goals in 37 caps, are also both dangerous options from penalty corners, which boosts Australia’s scoring possibilities.
“It certainly gives us some attacking options at penalty corners but both give us good passing range from the back,” Gaudoin said.
“With Morgan it’s some experience and with Fitzpatrick it’s some flair. She’s got an ability to do some things a bit differently and is a very skilful player.
“We’ve got a pretty solid midfield. We’re disappointed not to have Jane Claxton (hamstring injury) there but we have Renee Taylor stepping into that role pretty well at the moment.”
The Hockeyroos are due to take on Great Britain in their final practice match from 11.30pm (AEST) on Wednesday.
Australia’s 2018 Women’s World Cup campaign will be televised LIVE on Fox Sports, starting with the Sunday 5am (AEST) match against Japan.
The fifth-ranked Hockeyroos are in Pool D with New Zealand, Japan and Belgium.
Australia’s Women’s World Cup team:
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Kristina Bates (Port Melbourne, VIC)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Kalindi Commerford (Mollymook, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Emily Hurtz (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Ambrosia Malone (Burleigh, QLD)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Australia’s Women’s Hockey World Cup Schedule (all times AEST):
Sunday 22 July 5am – Australia v Japan
Tuesday 24 July 11pm – Australia v Belgium
Sunday 29 July 5am – Australia v New Zealand
Monday/Tuesday 30/31 July TBC – Playoffs
Wednesday/Thursday 1/2 August TBC – Quarter-finals
Saturday 4 August TBC – Semi-finals
Sunday/Monday 5/6 August 11pm/1:30am – Bronze medal/Gold medal match