Hockey Australia. has named an 18-player women’s squad for the 2014 World Cup with just just seven of the squad that finished fifth at the 2010 World Cup and nine of those that represented Australia at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Teneal Attard and Madonna Blyth are the only two players remaining from Australia’s last medal at the World Cup – silver in 2006.
Gold medals at the Oceania Cup and World League semi final tournaments, and a silver medal finish at the World League finals in Argentina last November have helped the Australian women to rise to fourth in the world rankings.
Coach Adam Commens said: “We feel this is our strongest squad based on current form. While a couple of our group – Teneal Attard and Georgie Parker – were unavailable to us during the recent Hawkes Bay tournament in New Zealand due to injury, their strong past performances warranted their inclusion.”
Blyth should pass Rechelle Hawkes’ tally of 279 games to become Australia’s second most capped woman during the Hockeyroos’ European preparation fixtures ahead of the World Cup.
Also included is Emily Hurtz. The 24-year-old was a member of the side that qualified for the World Cup by winning the World League Semi Final tournament in London last June. Primarily based in the Netherlands, she plays for Amsterdam H&BC under the guidance of Hockeyroos great and Sport Australia Hall of Famer Alyson Annan.
Commens added: “Emily Hurtz is selected on the back of a strong showing on tour with us in South Africa in January and having performed well during the World League semi final. That form has been backed up by a good training block here in Perth over the past couple of weeks.”
“We’re a team that has shown it can match it with the top sides in the world. There’s a misconception that we’ve been together for a long time but we’ve had significant turnover since the Olympic Games. There’s a lot of talent in our squad though, we performed well in 2013 and we’re aiming to reach the semi-finals. We’re more than capable of reaching that stage and performing well against the top nations. From there, anything can happen.
“The Dutch are the clear number one and they’re in our pool. We’ll get a good indication from that match of where we’re at but I certainly don’t believe we fear anyone in the other side of the draw.”
In addition to Attard and Blyth, 2009 world young player of the year Casey Eastham, Kate Jenner, goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, Georgia Nanscawen and Ashleigh Nelson were all part of the Hockeyroos’ 2010 World Cup squad. 2012 world young player of the year Anna Flanagan, Jodie Kenny and Emily Smith were London 2012 Olympians while Emily Hurtz and goalkeeper Ashlee Wells were reserve athletes for the Olympic Games.
Smith is joined in the forward line by her Crookwell (NSW) childhood friend Kellie White, and there is also a Berri (SA) double with Georgie Parker and Karri McMahon selected. There are call-ups, too, for three athletes that made their senior debuts early last year with Edwina Bone, Jane Claxton and Kirsten Dwyer all included.
“Of those that weren’t selected, Brooke Peris, Jordyn Holzberger and Mathilda Carmichael are all very talented junior athletes with bright futures who were just outside our top 18,” Commens continued. “Jayde Taylor has come back after a long rehabilitation from foot surgery and has performed very well this year. She can consider herself very unlucky but I’m confident she can play a part in the coming months.”
The Hockeyroos have won a medal at the World Cup on five previous occasions, including back-to-back gold medal victories at the 1994 and 1998 tournaments.
The Hockeyroos will depart for Europe on May 12, where they will first play in a four nations tournament against England, Japan and Germany in Bremen. A match against Belgium in Antwerp will provide a last official warm-up game before arriving in The Hague for final preparations, including three unofficial practice matches against Argentina, China and USA.
The Hockeyroos’ opening match of the World Cup is against Korea on Saturday May 31.
Hockeyroos’ squad for the Rabobank World Cup
31 May – 15 June 2014
The Hague, Netherlands
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals [Age]
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 189/10 
Madonna Blyth (Brisbane, QLD) 277/65 
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 36/1 
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 37/3 
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 44/2 
Casey Eastham (South Coast, NSW) 199/44 
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 120/20 
Emily Hurtz (Camden, NSW) 74/28 
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 91/1 
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 102/50 
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC) 102/0 
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 35/4 
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 120/22 
Ashleigh Nelson (Wagin, WA) 144/61 
Georgie Parker (Berri, SA) 52/13 
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 82/32 
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 30/0 
Kellie White (Crookwell, NSW) 72/24 
Hockeyroos’ record at the World Cup
1974 – Mandelieu, FRA – Did not compete
1976 – West Berlin, FRG – Did not compete
1978 – Madrid, ESP – Did not compete
1981 – Buenos Aires, ARG – 4th
1983 – Kuala Lumpur, MAS – Bronze
1986 – Amstelveen, NED – 6th
1990 – Sydney, AUS – Silver
1994 – Dublin, IRE – Gold
1998 – Utrecht, NED – Gold
2002 – Perth, AUS – 4th
2006 – Madrid, ESP – Silver
2010 – Rosario, ARG – 5th
World Cup arrangements & match schedule
12 May – Depart for Europe
15 May – Four nations tournament: match 1 v England, Bremen (GER)
17 May – Four nations tournament: match 2 v Japan, Bremen (GER)
18 May – Four nations tournament: match 3 v Germany, Bremen (GER)
20 May – Hockeyroos v Belgium, Test match, Antwerp (BEL)
25-28 May – Unofficial practice matches v Argentina, China and USA
31 May – Hockeyroos v Korea, 10:30pm AEST / 8:30pm AWST
2 June – Hockeyroos v Japan, 6:30pm AWST / 4:30pm AWST
5 June – Hockeyroos v Belgium, 6:30pm AWST / 4:30pm AWST
7 June – Hockeyroos v Netherlands, 3:45am AEST (8 June) / 1:45am AWST (8 June)
9 June – Hockeyroos v New Zealand, 6:30pm AEST / 4:30pm AWST
12 June – TBC – Semi Finals
13 June – TBC – Classification Matches
14 June – TBC – Medal matches & classification matches