Several Hockeyroos stalwarts will bring up major milestones during the upcoming Tri Nations series against New Zealand and Japan in Cromwell.
Australia will participate in the three-nation tournament which runs from 19-27 May as crucial preparation for the 2018 World Cup in London in July and August.
Skipper Emily Smith along with veteran defender Jodie Kenny will likely bring up their 200th caps respectively for Australia during the Tri Nations.
Smith, who was appointed Hockeyroos captain last September, debuted against New Zealand at the 2011 Oceania Cup in Hobart.
Kenny, who started a family last year with the birth of Harrison, debuted in 2011 as well, against Germany at the Four Nations in Argentina.
But they’re not alone, with Edwina Bone (149 games), Ashlee Wells (96 games) and Renee Taylor (48 games) on the cusp of milestones too.
Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin elected to draft in five players from the 18-member team which had competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April, losing to the Black Sticks in the gold medal match.
Among the changes are Wells, along with Kristina Bates, Lily Brazel, Kalindi Commerford and Kathryn Slattery.
Madison Fitzpatrick had originally been included but injured forced her out late, with Ash Fey returning.
Gaudoin said the Tri Nations represented a good opportunity to see what those players had to offer.
“We’re starting to build players who are a bit more flexible, who are owning their decisions on the field and we need to continue that if we’re going to be a team that’s reckoning for a medal in Tokyo,” Gaudoin said.
He added: “We want to make sure we’re learning, building and improving every time we get an opportunity to represent Australia.
“I think the girls are starting to understand how I want them to play. Our style of play still has a lot of work to do.”
Gaudoin said the Hockeyroos would enter into an intense training block after the Tri Nations, before heading to Europe in July where they’d play some warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup.
He was coy on giving away too much against New Zealand and Japan, who they’ll meet in London, but said facing the world number four Black Sticks would be another good opportunity to learn.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves against one of the top teams in the world,” he said.
“We are reasonably familiar with them but at the same time they’ve got some excellent players, an excellent style of play that’s aggressive and we want to be able to challenge ourselves to continue to be able to perform against them, recognising that we’ll see them at the World Cup.”
Follow @Hockeyroos on Twitter for match updates throughout the Tri Nations series.
The semi final/final will be streamed via the Black Sticks Facebook page (no geo-blocking).
Hockeyroos team for Tri Nations:
Athlete (City, State)
Kristina Bates (Mont Albert, VIC)
Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Kalindi Commerford (Mollymook, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Ashlea Fey (Sunshine Coast, QLD)
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Emily Hurtz (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA)
Emily Smith (c) (Crookwell, NSW)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC)
Tri Nations Women’s International Hockey Match Schedule (all times AEST):
Sunday 20 May 12:30pm – New Zealand vs Australia
Monday 21 May 4:30pm – Australia vs Japan
Wednesday 23 May 4:30pm – New Zealand vs Australia
Thursday 24 May 4:30pm – Australia vs Japan
Saturday 26 May 2:30pm – Playoff for final (2nd vs 3rd)
Sunday 27 May 12:30pm – Final