No holds barred for Hockeyroos in quest to qualify

Author: Nic Kerber

The Hockeyroos will not be leaving anything to chance as they attempt to secure their place at next year’s Tokyo Olympics when they take on Russia in a do-or-die two match Qualifying Series in Perth beginning tomorrow (Friday 25 October 2019).

The winner on aggregate across the two-matches, to be played on 25/26 October at the Perth Hockey Stadium, will book their spot at Tokyo 2020.

Currently ranked second in the world, the Hockeyroos find themselves in this ‘last chance’ qualifier after being narrowly edged out by New Zealand in last month’s Oceania Cup which saw the Black Sticks Women qualify automatically.

Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin says the players’ focus at training since they reassembled to prepare for the qualifiers has been spot on and he is confident they will be able to handle the occasion considering what is on the line.

“If we control what we can do, do it well and stick to the game plan, I believe we’ll be able to come away with some success,” said Gaudoin.

“One of the things we have spoken about is the ability to play in high pressure matches.”

“We took some learning from those qualifiers against New Zealand and now we have another opportunity to play in high pressure games.”

“It highlights that you can’t take qualifying for the Olympics for granted, particularly in the women’s game.

Up against a Russian team 19th on the world rankings, the Hockeyroos enter the qualifiers as favourites, however their opponents are largely an unknown quantity and Gaudoin knows they will pose a difficult challenge. The last time the Hockeyroos faced Russia was at a six nations tournament in 2002.

“Russia have had some promising results against some very good teams of late, so they have obviously got some quality about them and they are a little bit more unknown so that makes it dangerous,” said Gaudoin.

“But at the same time we’re confident. We’ve established ourselves over the last couple of years into a pretty good position globally and I back our girls to get the job done.”

“We have had a look at some of Russia’s matches but certainly the focus has been back on our play and what we do so that has certainly been the focus for us.”

The Hockeyroos have suffered one setback in the lead up with dynamic forward Rosie Malone ruled out after injuring her hamstring at training.

Malone’s spot in the team has been filled by WA local Georgia Wilson, who herself has returned from injury and is set to make her first Hockeyroos appearance since the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August.

If Lily Brazel plays in both matches as expected, she will make her 50th Hockeyroos appearance in the second match on Saturday and be hoping to celebrate it with qualification for Tokyo.

With the Perth Thundersticks hosting a Sultana Bran Hockey One double header against NSW Pride prior to the Hockeyroos’ second match on Saturday 25 October, the two qualifiers at the Perth Hockey Stadium are FREE entry to the public.

Both matches of the qualifying series will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive on Kayo.

FIH 2019 Olympic Qualifying Series
Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University, WA

Friday 25 October 2019
Hockeyroos v Russia (3:00pm AWST, 6:00pm AEDT)

Saturday 26 October 2019
Hockeyroos v Russia (7:00pm AWST, 10:00pm AEDT)

Hockeyroos v Russia – overall record
Played 6; Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 2
29 April 2002 – Australia 5-2 Russia (Six Nations Tournament, Gifu, Japan)
15 December 1996 – Australia 11-1 Russia (Indira Gandhi Cup VI, New Delhi, India)
13 July 1994 – Australia 1-2 Russia (World Cup VIII, Dublin, Ireland)
22 August 1986 – Australia 7-0 USSR (World Cup VI, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
15 June 1985 – Australia 1-1 USSR (Five Nations Tournament, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
4 April 1981 Australia 1-5 USSR (FIH World Cup IV, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Hockeyroos squad – FIH 2019 Olympic Qualifying Series v Russia
Name, Date of Birth, Hometown State, Club, Caps (Goals)
Edwina Bone, 24/04/1988, Orange NSW, Canberra Chill, 195 (4)
Lily Brazel, 26/01/1995, Sydney NSW, HC Melbourne, 48 (1)
Emily Challker, 28/07/1992, Crookwell NSW, NSW Pride, 233 (80)
Jane Claxton, 26/10/1992, Adelaide SA, Adelaide Fire, 175 (18)
Kalindi Commerford, 18/11/1994, Ulladulla ACT, Canberra Chill, 43 (7)
Madison Fitzpatrick, 14/12/1996, Cabarita Beach QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 72 (16)
Jodie Kenny, 18/08/1987, Wamuran QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 227 (111)
Amy Lawton, 19/01/2002 , Emerald VIC, HC Melbourne, 8 (2)
Rachael Lynch (GK), 2/07/1986, Warrandyte VIC, HC Melbourne, 218 (0)
Karri McMahon, 27/02/1992, Berri SA, Adelaide Fire, 145 (10)
Kaitlin Nobbs, 24/09/1997, Newington NSW, NSW Pride, 74 (4)
Brooke Peris, 16/01/1993, Darwin NT, Canberra Chill, 165 (26)
Grace Stewart, 24/04/1997, Gerringong NSW, NSW Pride, 79 (22)
Renee Taylor, 28/09/1996, Everton Park QLD, Brisbane Blaze, 75 (8)
Sophie Taylor, 12/09/1995, Melbourne VIC, HC Melbourne, 29 (1)
Ashlee Wells (GK), 1/08/1989, Morwell VIC, Adelaide Fire, 118 (0)
Mariah Williams, 31/05/1995, Parkes NSW, NSW Fire, 79 (13)
Georgia Wilson, 20/05/1996, Mahogany Creek WA, Perth Thundersticks, 31 (0)