The Hockeyroos will welcome four new faces for their senior international debuts in next week’s test series against Korea at Perth Hockey Stadium.
Edwina Bone (ACT), Jane Claxton (SA), Brooke Peris (NT) and Mariah Williams (NSW) have all been called up by coach Adam Commens for the four match series which starts next Wednesday and will be streamed live online on the Hockey Australia website.
The Hockeyroos are also boosted by the return of captain Madonna Blyth, who missed the team’s tour to South Africa earlier this year after taking two months off following the 2012 AHL. The two-time Olympian returned to training in January and will lead the side against Korea.
Speaking about the selection of 20 year old Claxton, coach Adam Commens said: “Jane has been one of the leaders in the juniors and has confidently made the step up into the senior program. She performed excellently at last year’s AHL and has put in outstanding performances for the juniors to thoroughly earn her selection to play against Korea. ”
With Emily Hurtz in Europe and Casey Eastham and Jordyn Holzberger sidelined through injuries, the door has opened for Darwin-born Brooke Peris and Mariah Williams from Teralba. Explaining the situation, Commens said: “Both Brooke and Mariah have done well in the juniors and with three of our forward line unavailable it presents us with the opportunity to give them a taste of playing senior international hockey in front of a home crowd.
“Edwina Bone has been in our development squad for the past two years and has been on the fringes of senior selection previously. With Jodie Schulz, Jade Warrender and Jayde Taylor recovering from injuries we will give her the opportunity to step up for this series.”
For two athletes, the series is likely to see them reach milestone appearances for the Hockeyroos. Victorian Claire Messant is just one appearance short of 50 matches for her country while Emily Smith, who was named in the Under 21 Jillaroos training squad for the Junior World Cup yesterday, goes into the Korean series with 47 caps.
In total, seven members of the Under 21 squad have been named in the squad. In addition to Smith, Jane Claxton, Anna Flanagan (ACT), Karri McMahon (SA), Georgia Nanscawen (VIC), Brooke Peris and Mariah Williams were all called up for the Jillaroos.
The series represents the latest stage in the Hockeyroos’ preparation for the World League tournament in London in June, a competition that brings with it the prize of qualification for the 2014 World Cup. For their part, Korea are also preparing for the World League and sitting just two places behind sixth position Australia in the world rankings, they are likely to pose a significant challenge to the up-and-coming Hockeyroos.
Following the conclusion of the Hockeyroos’ series against Korea four matches between the Hockeyroos and the Jillaroos squad preparing for the Junior World Cup will take place in Perth. The games will provide an opportunity for all members of the development squad to play for the Hockeyroos against a full strength Jillaroos side containing its senior athletes.
As Commens explained: “It will be a great opportunity to see all of our top talent together.”
Hockeyroos Squad vs Korea, 24-28 April