[img_assist|nid=3520|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=180|height=119]Australia women’s hockey coach Adam Commens has unveiled the squad that will compete at an Olympic lead up event in London in June.
A squad of 20 are bound for the UK, where they will compete in the London Investec Cup between June 5-10 and also play test matches against Great Britain and Germany.
Commens said the tour was another chance for his athletes to press for Olympic selection, with the final team announced after the tournament in mid-June.
“Selection over the last 12 months has been difficult, all players are stepping up and performing well and competition for places is fierce,” he said.
“This tour will give us the chance to see how players perform under selection pressure against some of the top nations in the world.”
At the London Cup, in their pool, Australia will face world number one the Netherlands and Ireland, while Germany, Great Britain and South Africa are on the other side of the draw.
In test matches outside this event, the Hockeyroos will face Great Britain and Germany, ranked three and four in the world.
The squad will leave Perth on May 28 and will play some but not all matches at Olympic Park.
“It is really important to get a feel for the Olympic pitch,” he said.
“It will have its own individiual characteristics and being a new pitch I expect it may be bouncy and slippery.”
Captain Madonna Blyth will lead the group, who will need to perform at the top of their game, as all players remain in contention, even those not selected on this occasion.
“Recent perfomances will bare the most weight but we will also look at big game players and balance in positions,” Commens said.
Defender Jade Warrender’s Olympic campaign was shattered this month, when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament at training and as a result a key position in defence is up for grabs.
It’s expected Jayde Taylor, Kate Jenner and Jacklyn McRae will be fighting for this spot.
Queenslander Jordyn Holzberger is the only player selected, who is not a member of the Olympic squad but the 18 year old, who has played just ten matches for her country continues to impress.
She made her international debut against Korea in Perth this year and handled the call up with confidence beyond her years.
Hailing from Ipswich, Holzberger has trained with the national squad since March last year and has made a comfortable transition from Australian Under-21 player to open representative.
Two goal keepers will travel to Europe, Toni Cronk, who is a stalwart of the outfit and newcomer Ashlee Wells has been given the opportunity to push for a place in the team.
Commens stressed however that Rachael Lynch, who will stay in Australia, is an experienced goal keeper, who remains in contention.
Teneal Attard(QLD), Madonna Blyth(QLD), Fiona Boyce(WA), Jade Close(NSW), Toni Cronk(NSW), Casey Eastham(NSW), Anna Flanagan(ACT), Jordyn Holzberger(QLD), Kate Jenner(NSW), Kobie McGurk(WA), Jacklyn McRae(NSW), Claire Messent(VIC), Hope Munro(WA), Georgia Nanscawen(VIC), Ashleigh Nelson(WA), Megan Rivers(NSW), Jodie Schulz(QLD), Emily Smith(NSW), Jayde Taylor(WA), Ashlee Wells(VIC).