Regarded as one of the nation’s greatest sporting teams of all time, the Australian women’s outfit welcomed the new breed of Hockeyroos to the biggest stage in world sport today.
Seven players have Olympic Games experience, Captain Madonna Blyth, Casey Eastham, Teneal Attard, Toni Cronk, Kobie McGurk, Hope Munro and Megan Rivers, while the rest are set to make their Games debut.
Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said selection had been difficult but in the end he was pleased with the final 16 that made the cut.
“We believe in this group, but we know the next six weeks are so important to our Olympic campaign,” Commens said.
“We have identified the areas we need to dramatically improve on if we are to challenge for a medal at the Games.”
The Hockeyroos finished a disappointing fifth at the Beijing Games four years ago and head to London with high hopes they will return with a medal in 2012.
One who is determined to make that happen is Teneal Attard, who has fought back from three knee reconstructions to play at her second Olympics.
Since taking over as Captain in 2009, Blyth also has also dreamed of seeing the women’s team reclaim the title as the top nation in the world.
Kobie McGurk was last year named in the Federation of International Hockey’s prestigious World All Stars team and will play a key role in defence.
After retiring to start a family, Hope Munro has returned to the top of her game and alongside stalwart Megan Rivers, will be pivotal to Australia’s attack in midfield.
Goal keeper Toni Cronk is the only player left from the team that played at the Athens Games in 2004 and is set to represent her country at her third Olympics.
Casey Eastham was the baby of the Beijing Games but four years on is part of the leadership group and her performance will be important to the team’s success.
Ashleigh Nelson debuted for the Hockeyroos in 2007 and was overlooked for the Olympic team a year later but the strike forward from Western Australia will make her Olympic debut in 2012.
Drag flick specialist Jodie Schulz has a big job ahead of her and a high conversion rate on penalty corners will be pivotal to whether the Hockeyroos win a medal or not.
NSW defender Kate Jenner has seized an opportunity after Jade Warrender suffered a serious knee injury that ended her Olympic campaign and left an opening on the back-line
The rest of the of the young group are exceptionally talented in their own right and have a belief they can achieve their dreams in London.
This new breed of players are determined to carve their own history, while carrying on the legacy of success that the team is known for.
Commens has reinvigorated the team with a new fast and attacking style of play and has spent hours focusing on penalty corners and developing drag flicking in the women’s game to best prepare the Hockeyroos for the Olympics.
Teneal Attard(QLD), Madonna Blyth(QLD), Fiona Boyce(WA), Jade Close(NSW), Toni Cronk(NSW), Casey Eastham(NSW), Anna Flanagan(ACT), Kate Jenner(NSW), Kobie McGurk(WA), Hope Munro(WA), Georgia Nanscawen(VIC), Ashleigh Nelson(WA), Megan Rivers(NSW), Jodie Schulz(QLD), Emily Smith(NSW), Jayde Taylor(WA)
Photo Credit and Source: Hockey Australia