Black Sticks Women's Squad Named To Face Australia

 Expect to see a whole lot more of this in the series against Australia

Expect to see a whole lot more of this in the series against Australia

In the post-Olympics haze, Mark Hager has named his Black Sticks squad to take on Australia and in similar fashion to the men's team, Hager has opted to switch things up. That would have come with a few players opting to take time off, or playing in Europe and with Kalya Whitelock retiring, there are now opportunities for other players to establish themselves in this team.

Stacey Michelsen will step up and take on a fair chunk of the leadership responsibilities as along with Whitelock and Anita McLaren, Michelsen was one of the kiwis' key weapons in Rio. Whether Michelsen is still rolled out on the right, or if she is given the opportunity to play through the middle will be interesting as the Black Sticks will lack a skillful play-maker in their midfield without McLaren.

Also included from the Olympics squad are Liz Thompson, Sally Rutherford, Pippa Hayward, Kirsten Pearce, Olivia Merry, Kelsey Smith and Rose Keddell. They will form the core of the team, welcoming in Felicity Reidy and Kim Tanner who could earn their first Black Sticks cap while Madison Doar and Samanta Polovnikoff will soak up wisdom, selected to travel with the Black Sticks. 

In an example of how many players Hager used prior to the Olympics - thus developing the pool of players who are capable of making the step up to international hockey - many of the players selected who weren't in Rio have already stacked up many international caps.

This includes Samantha Harrison, who at 25-years-old didn't feature for the Black Sticks over the past few years but she still has 93 games to her name. Michaela Curtis (60 games), Natasha Fitzsimons (52), Amelia Gibson (57), Erin Goad (3), Jordan Grant (60), Rachel McCann (29) and Jenny Storey (9) have all tasted international hockey and the experience in this group that didn't go to Rio showcases some pretty impressive depth in kiwi women's hockey.

The Trans-Tasman Trophy series will get underway on November 17, so we'll pop up with a preview of both the women's and men's teams as two fresh Black Sticks teams look to finish the year on a high.