Hockeyroos Head Coach Katrina Powell has announced her 18-player team for the 2023 Oceania Cup, the tournament which doubles as qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The best-of-three match series against New Zealand, to be held in Whangarei from 10-13 August, is the most important on the Hockeyroos’ 2023 calendar.
The winner of the Oceania Cup automatically secures a spot in Paris, while the losers must play off in a final qualification tournament in early 2024 for a second chance to qualify.
Of the 18 players selected, seven (Jane Claxton, Amy Lawton, Rosie Malone, Kaitlin Nobbs, Brooke Peris, Renee Taylor and Mariah Williams) competed in the last Oceania Cup in 2019.
Powell has named a largely tried and tested team, with half of the players selected having played 80 international matches or more.
This includes Grace Stewart and Renee Taylor, who missed the European tour with injury but are now at the end of their recovery.
Powell said big game experience was a consideration of the selection panel in picking the team.
“It is certainly an aspect of our group that there is some good experience in there and I think you do need a level of experience going into important matches like the Oceania Cup and qualifying for the Olympics,” said Powell.
“This selection was a really tough task. The level of depth is there…we have given a lot of players an opportunity this year and plenty of them put their hands up, which made it difficult.”
“There are any numbers of players who could have made this team, so it is pleasing to see how many are currently playing well.”
Selection of the Oceania Cup team comes after the Hockeyroos recently completed their final matches of the FIH Pro League 2022-23 Season in Europe.
The performances and results against the Netherlands and Belgium saw the Hockeyroos rise to number two on the world rankings and has them sitting third in the FIH Pro League standings with 31 points from their 16 matches.
“We had some good results in Europe but what was more pleasing was some of our hockey and the way we are going about playing that will put us in good stead for the Oceania Cup,” said Powell.
“I’m happy to see where we sit, firstly in the world rankings and also to currently be third on the Pro League table.”
“Considering how many players have played in the team this year and were provided with an opportunity, I’m pleased with not only those outcomes but also with some of the hockey we have put out on the pitch.”
“That is the test for the Oceania Cup…to have that consistency and putting those strong performances out there when the group is under pressure to perform.”
Match times and broadcast details for the Oceania Cup are to be confirmed.
The Kookaburras’ Oceania Cup team will be announced in the coming weeks.
The last time the Oceania Cup was held was in September 2019 in Rockhampton. The Hockeyroos lost to the Black Sticks on goal difference before securing their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics by defeating Russia in a 2-match series.