Perth, April 30 IANS | 8 months ago

Hockey Australia (HA) Wednesday announced an 18-member squad for the May 31-June 15 women's hockey World Cup to be held at The Hague.

The squad, named by national coach Adam Commens and the selection panel, contains just seven names from the team that finished fifth at the 2010 World Cup and nine who represented Australia at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Hockeyroos go into the competition on the back of impressive progress over the past one year. Gold medal victories at the Oceania Cup and World League Semi-final and a silver medal at the World League Finals in Argentina last November have helped the team rise to fourth in world rankings.

Two-time Olympian Teneal Attard is one of only two members of the side to have played at the 2006 Madrid World Cup where they won silver. Captain Madonna Blyth is the other.

"We feel this is our strongest squad based on current form. We're a team that has shown it can match with the top sides in the world. There's a misconception that we've been together for a long time but we've had significant turnover since the Olympics," Commens said.

"We're aiming to reach the semi-finals and are more than capable of reaching that stage and performing well against the top nations. From there, anything can happen. The Dutch are the clear No.1 and they're in our pool. We'll get a good indication from that match of where we are. I don't believe we fear anyone in the other side of the draw."

In addition to Attard and Blyth, 2009 World Young Player of the Year Casey Eastham, Kate Jenner, goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, Georgia Nanscawen and Ashleigh Nelson were all part of the Hockeyroos' 2010 World Cup squad.

The Hockeyroos have won a medal at the World Cup on five previous occasions, including back-to-back golds at the 1994 and 1998 tournaments.

The team will depart for Europe May 12 where they will first play in a four-nation tournament against England, Japan and Germany in Bremen. A match against Belgium in Antwerp will provide a last official warm-up game before arriving in The Hague for final preparations, including three unofficial practice matches against Argentina, China and the United States.

Australia's World Cup opener is against Korea May 31.

The squad: Teneal Attard, Madonna Blyth, Edwina Bone, Jane Claxton, Kirstin Dwyer, Casey Eastham, Anna Flanagan, Emily Hurtz, Kate Jenner, Jodie Kenny, Rachael Lynch, Karri McMahon, Georgia Nanscawen, Ashleigh Nelson, Georgie Parker, Emily Smith, Ashlee Wells, Kellie White.

(Posted on 30-04-2014)

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