Hockey Australia today announced the 18-member Hockeyroos team which will compete at the upcoming 2018 FIH Champions Trophy in China.
Third-ranked Australia will come up against hosts China (ranked 11th), defending champions Argentina (fourth), Olympic champions Great Britain (England ranked second), world number one Netherlands and the invited Japan (14th).
The Champions Trophy, which will be the last-ever edition of the event which has run since 1978 before next year’s introduction of the new FIH Pro League, runs from 17-25 November in Changzhou, China.
The Hockeyroos, who finished fourth at the World Cup in July, were last in action in the Japan Four Nations in September, with several changes from that team, including the returns of forward Emily Smith, goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, midfielder Brooke Peris and experienced defenders Karri McMahon and Jodie Kenny.
Three uncapped players are included in Queensland’s Rebecca Greiner, NSW’s Greta Hayes and WA’s Penny Squibb.
Hockeyroos head coach Paul Gaudoin said: “We want to win but we’ve also got an eye on the Tokyo Olympics and developing our athlete cohort.
“We want to identify the right athletes who’ll help us prepare for 2020, so we’ve taken the opportunity to expose some new athletes to the international arena, but we still have some core athletes.
“Among the new additions are those who’ve had some good form in the AHL and those who we’ve been keeping an eye on for a fair period of time.”
Bundaberg forward Greiner, 19, comes into the team after finishing as equal top scorer at the Australian Hockey League (AHL) which concluded on Sunday. She was previously called up for the Japan Four Nations but had to withdraw due to injury.
Hayes, who plays her club Hockey for Sydney University, is a dynamic midfielder. The 21-year-old was a key part of the NSW Arrows side which lifted the AHL title on Sunday.
Squibb, who hails from Tambellup in WA’s Great Southern region, comes from the National Development Squad and is a 25-year-old defender who offers a goal threat from penalty corners.
Squibb impressed in the 2018 AHL with WA with five goals and was last year’s joint top scorer.
“Rebecca has been developing nicely in her training environment in Queensland,” Gaudoin said.
“She played extremely well at the Under-21s and was the equal top scorer at the AHL. We’re looking for that youth and enthusiasm to add to our group. She’s fully deserved her position.
“Greta played at the Junior World Cup in 2016. She’s been in Belgium for a year and just got back a few months ago.
“She was in our Development Squad prior to that. She came in and had a wonderful AHL, she was very impressive, she’s a hard-working midfielder and we’re looking for those. She gets an opportunity to continue with her progression after having some quality time in Belgium.
“Penny has been in our Development Squad for a couple of years. She’s been in our training environment a couple of times on a VAA scholarship.
“She’s performed very well in the AHL and we believe she deserves an opportunity to show what she can do at the next level.”
Australia are six-time champions and five-time runners-up but haven’t won the title since 2003.
“We’re certainly looking at taking a team to China that can win the Champions Trophy,” Gaudoin said.
“But we are also looking to finalise our 2019 National Squads. We need to keep evolving and developing our athlete cohort.”
The Hockeyroos team is due to fly to China on Monday 12 November ahead of their opening game against Argentina on Saturday 17 November from 7pm (AEDT). All matches will be televised LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Hockeyroos’ 18-member Champions Trophy team:
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kalindi Commerford (Mollymook, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Rebecca Greiner (Bundaberg, QLD)
Greta Hayes (Sydney, NSW)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Ambrosia Malone (Burleigh, QLD)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Hayley Padget (Doncaster, VIC)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Penny Squibb (Tambellup, WA)
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) *Plays for SA
Hockeyroos 2018 Champions Trophy schedule (all times AEDT):
Saturday 17 November 7pm – Australia v Argentina
Sunday 18 November 5pm – Australia v Great Britain
Tuesday 20 November 5pm – Australia v Netherlands
Thursday 22 November 7pm – Australia v China
Saturday 24 November 5pm – Australia v Japan
Sunday 25 November – Finals