Sunday, May 19, 2024

New Zealand players set for Olympic trials in North-South hockey series

A North-South Series in Hamilton this weekend will offer New Zealand players their first competitive outings of the year, as well as doubling as Olympic trials for Tokyo.

The Sentinel Homes North vs South series will see the country’s top men’s and women’s players go head-to-head between April 17-20

The Black Sticks were scheduled to play Australia in the FIH Hockey Pro League at this time but the matches have been postponed.

“The series will not only operate as an Olympic trial with spots on the line for Tokyo but it also gives us a chance to monitor how the next level of talent is tracking for post 2021,” said Black Sticks men’s coach Darren Smith.

Two players from the 25-strong men’s national squad are unavailable for the series. Kane Russell has returned to Germany to complete his contract with the Hamburg club until mid-May, and Brad Read will take some time away from hockey after suffering a concussion last month.

After several months training together, women’s coach Graham Shaw says the series will offer a key marker ahead of Tokyo after his players were last tested in November’s Premier League.

He said: “The series will provide the players with a perfect opportunity to test our style of play and the areas we have focused heavily on since the beginning of the year. It will also give us a good marker on how players are tracking as we get closer to selection for Tokyo.”

A national Under-21 event will be run alongside the series with New Zealand under-21 men’s and women’s teams named afterwards. Junior World Cups are scheduled in India (men) and South Africa (women) in November and December this year.

Sentinel Homes North vs South Teams:

Men – North: Benji Edwards, Steve Edwards , Connor Greentree, Xavier Guy, George Muir, Charl Ulrich (North Harbour); Leon Hayward (GK), Kim Kingstone, Jared Panchia (Auckland); Tim Neild, Aidan Sarikaya, Nic Woods (Waikato); Dom Dixon (GK), Sean Findlay, Sam Hiha, Shea McAleese, Dylan Thomas (Hawke’s Bay); Nick Wilson (Manawatu).

Men – South: Angus Griffin (GK) (Guest – Manawatu); Jordan Cohen (Wanganui); Stephen Jenness, Dane Lett, Oliver McIntyre, Harry Miskimmin, Jacob Smith, Matt Symonds (Wellington); David Brydon, George Connell, George Enersen (GK), Sam Lane, Joseph Morrison, Dominic Newman (Canterbury); Nick Elder, Hugo Inglis, Nick Ross, Blair Tarrant (Otago).

Women – North: Katie Doar, Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Roberts (GK) (Northland); Ella Hyatt-Brown (North Harbour); Kate Ivory, Julia King, Tyler Lench, Grace O’Hanlon (GK), Deanna Ritchie, Liz Thompson, Rose Tynan, Tayla White (Auckland); Tarryn Davey (Thames Valley); Alex Lukin, Alia Jaques (Waikato); Samantha Charlton, Frances Davies, Rose Keddell (Tauranga).

Women – South: Kaitlin Cotter (Hawke’s Bay); Anna Crowley, Casey Crowley, Holly Pearson, Hope Ralph (Taranaki); Georgia Barnett (GK), Michaela Curtis, Steph Dickins, Kayla Whitelock, Olivia Shannon (Manawatu); Megan Hull (Wairarapa); Aniwaka Roberts (Wellington); Kelsey Smith (Nelson); Olivia Merry, Georgie Mackay-Stewart, Catherine Tinning (Canterbury); Tessa Jopp, Ginny Wilson (GK) (Otago).

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