By Rod Gilmour
The Hockeyroos will compete at next month’s hockey World Cup with three squad members experiencing elite tournament hockey for only the second time and coach Paul Gaudoin admitting that midfield places are up for grabs two years out from Tokyo 2020.
Forward Rosie Malone is the standout name among several new faces in Gaudoin’s squad ahead of their departure to London and Australia’s attempt to win the World Cup for the first time in 20 years.
Malone’s decision to choose hockey over a W-League career has proved a wise one after she was reportedly close to playing in Australia’s women’s soccer league with Brisbane Roar.
The 20-year-old missed out on the Hockeyroos Commonwealth Games in April after joining the programme in Perth earlier this year and playing for the under-21 squad.
She impressed Gaudoin during the recent Tri-Nations series New Zealand, as the Hockeyroos exacted revenge over the Commonwealth champs.
Midfield duo Kalindi Commerford and Kristina Bates have also gained World Cup selection, while defender Georgina Morgan returns after injury and will line up for corner flicking duties.
— Hockeyroos (@Hockeyroos) January 16, 2018
“It’s an exciting team with some new faces,” said Gaudoin. “Midfielder Jane Claxton will be missed due to injury, but it provides a great opportunity for new talent to stake a claim for midfield positions.”
The world No 5 Hockeyroos will aim to win their first World Cup title since 1998 after finishing runners-up to the Dutch in 2014.
Argentina and the Netherlands have won two showpiece titles apiece since then.
World Cup squad:
Jocelyn Bartram, Kristina Bates, Edwina Bone, Kalindi Commerford, Madison Fitzpatrick, Emily Hurtz, Jodie Kenny, Stephanie Kershaw, Rachael Lynch, Rosie Malone, Karri McMahon, Georgina Morgan, Kaitlin Nobbs, Brooke Peris, Kathryn Slattery, Emily Smith, Grace Stewart, Renee Taylor.