Consistency key for Hockeyroos on eve of Pro League opener

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The Hockeyroos’ 2020 campaign begins tomorrow when they take on Belgium in the first of back-to-back FIH Pro League matches at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre.

Entering an Olympic year after finishing runners up to the Netherlands in a nail biting Pro League Grand Final in 2019, Hockeyroos Coach Paul Gaudoin says the focus for his group from the outset will be maintaining an extremely high standard in every match.

“Training has been really good in Perth, there is a positive feeling among the group and we’re really looking forward to taking on Belgium tomorrow,” said Gaudoin.

“In this early part of the year we’re trying to build on our connections, but we understand that we are playing against a very good team.”

“Consistency is what we are after for the duration of the year and that starts this weekend.”

Belgium proved somewhat of a bogey team for the Hockeyroos last year, the Europeans winning both encounters 2-1 and 1-0.

Reflecting on those performances, Gaudoin knows what the Hockeyroos need to improve on to reverse the ledger.

“Both of the games were very close and the thing we know is that we need to be able to finish and score goals which we struggled to do against them last year, so our finishing has to be better,” said Gaudoin.

The team of 18 players to play against Belgium has been finalised, with the most notable inclusion being talented Queenslander Steph Kershaw, who will play her first international since recovering from a second knee reconstruction.

“It’s really pleasing for Steph. She has worked really hard in her rehab and she has had to come back from a serious knee injury before so I’m really happy for her and to see her back,” said Gaudoin.

Another player who that this weekend’s matches carries added significance for is Kalindi Commerford.

The 25 year old from Milton in the south coast region of New South Wales has pledged to donate $50 for every goal scored by both Australia and Belgium (Men’s and Women’s matches) across this weekend’s Pro League double headers to aid people in the area who have been affected by the bushfire crisis.

In addition, she will also commit $100 for every goal she manages to score in the two matches against Belgium.

“When you represent your country you represent everyone,” Commerford said.

“To see how people went about their business so stoically after losing their homes and their livelihoods, together with the firefighters and emergency crew who have led the recovery effort, they are the people I feel really proud and honoured to represent.”

“It’s really exciting to be back in Sydney in front of what is hopefully a big home crowd tomorrow to kick start the year.”

“We have definitely come ready to play. The start of this year is about building that momentum and bettering where we finished last year.”

Tickets for the double headers against Belgium and on the following weekend against Great Britain are available now through Ticketek.

Hockeyroos Team v Belgium – FIH Pro League 2020

Name (Number) Date of Birth Hometown, State Hockey One Team Caps (Goals)
Jocelyn Bartram (gk) (19) 4/05/1993 Albury, NSW NSW Pride 48 (0)
Edwina Bone (13) 24/04/1988 Orange, NSW Canberra Chill 197 (4)
Emily Chalker (26) 28/07/1992 Crookwell, NSW NSW Pride 235 (82)
Jane Claxton (18) 26/10/1992 Adelaide, SA Adelaide Fire 177 (18)
Kalindi Commerford (23) 18/11/1994 Ulladulla, ACT Canberra Chill 45 (7)
Kate Jenner (22) 5/05/1990 Mudgee, NSW NSW Pride 122 (1)
Jodie Kenny (7) 18/08/1987 Wamuran, QLD Brisbane Blaze 229 (111)
Stephanie Kershaw (14) 19/04/1995 Townsville, QLD 59 (6)
Amy Lawton (4) 19/01/2002 Emerald, VIC HC Melbourne 10 (3)
Rosie Malone (2) 8/01/1998 Burleigh, QLD Brisbane Blaze 46 (10)
Karri McMahon (11) 27/02/1992 Berri, SA Adelaide Fire 147 (10)
Gabi Nance (16) 29/07/1994 Adelaide, SA Adelaide Fire 70 (7)
Kaitlin Nobbs (15) 24/09/1997 Newington, NSW NSW Pride 76 (4)
Brooke Peris (3) 16/01/1993 Darwin, NT Canberra Chill 167 (26)
Grace Stewart (30) 24/04/1997 Gerringong, NSW NSW Pride 81 (24)
Renee Taylor (21) 28/09/1996 Everton Park, QLD Brisbane Blaze 77 (8)
Ashlee Wells (gk) (5) 1/08/1989 Morwell, VIC Adelaide Fire 119 (0)
Georgia Wilson (8) 20/05/1996 Mahogany Creek, WA Perth Thundersticks 33 (0)

 Hockeyroos v Belgium – Overall Record

Played 18; Won 11, Drawn 5, Lost 2

FIH Pro League 2020 matches – Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre

Saturday 25 January
Hockeyroos v Belgium (4:00pm local)
Kookaburras v Belgium (6:30pm local)

Sunday 26 January
Hockeyroos v Belgium (3:00pm local)
Kookaburras v Belgium (5:30pm local)

Saturday 1 February
Kookaburras v Great Britain (4:00pm local)
Hockeyroos v Great Britain (6:30pm local)

Sunday 2 February
Kookaburras v Great Britain (3:00pm local)
Hockeyroos v Great Britain (5:30pm local)

Click here for a full list of the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras FIH Pro League 2020 fixtures.