Australia flew to China on Tuesday and will journey to Europe for four more matches following Sunday’s clash which could set the Hockeyroos up for a top four berth.
The Hockeyroos currently sit third on the women’s FIH Pro League standings with 21 points from 11 matches and a points percentage of 63.6.
Fourth-placed Belgium and fifth-placed Germany are breathing down their necks for finals spots, meaning Sunday’s clash against the Chinese, who are eighth on the standings and out of finals calculations, takes on extra importance.
Australia defeated China 4-3 in a seesawing clash in Hobart earlier in the FIH Pro League while both sides drew 0-0 in their last meeting in Changzhou at last year’s Champions Trophy.
Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said: “The Chinese are always a tough opponent and we’re expecting a good test in Changzhou.
“China may be eighth in the standings but they’ve been very tough to beat in home conditions during the FIH Pro League and we experienced that at last year’s Champions Trophy.”
Last year’s three-week stay in China for the Champions Trophy will also hold the Hockeyroos in good stead, before they move on to Europe for matches against Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in quick succession, plus potentially two finals.
“The matches come a little bit quicker than what we had in the Pacific leg but we’ll still get some time to prepare for each match. That’ll be interesting,” Gaudoin said.
Jodie Kenny, Georgina Morgan and Mariah Williams will not be part of the side to face China from the 20-member team named on Tuesday.
Belgium and Great Britain were also due to meet in Antwerp on Thursday 30 May, which will help shape the finals calculations.
There will be numerous other women’s FIH Pro League fixtures over the weekend, ensuring the Hockeyroos’ finals scenario will become clearer.
FIH Pro League matches:
China v Hockeyroos – Sunday 2 June 6pm AEST
Great Britain v Hockeyroos – Monday 10 June 1am AEST
Germany v Hockeyroos – Sunday 16 June 8pm AEST
Belgium v Hockeyroos – Thursday 20 June 2:30am AEST
Netherlands v Hockeyroos – Sunday 23 June 11pm AEST
Semi-Finals – Thursday 27 June
Finals – Saturday 29 June
Hockeyroos 20-member team:
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Emily Chalker (Crookwell, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kalindi Commerford (Ulladulla, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Rebecca Greiner (Bundaberg, QLD)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Ambrosia Malone (Burleigh, QLD)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Penny Squibb (Tambellup, WA)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Sophie Taylor (Melbourne, VIC)
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW)