Hard & Fast: Black Sticks Men Squad vs Malaysia + Mini Depth Chart

After yesterday's announcement of a 25-man squad for 2016, Black Sticks coach Colin Batch has named 20 blokes to roll up their sleeves against Malaysia in Tauragna.

The first Test is on Sunday, get amongst.

As expected, given the talent and depth in kiwi hockey, this is a strong squad led by skipper Simon Child along with Ryan Archibald who is likely to play his 300th Test.

The five players missing from yesterday's 2016 squad are Black Sticks regulars Stephen Jenness, Blair Hilton and Shea McAleese along with veteran defender Brad Shaw. Newbie Dominic Newman is also absent.

That gives an opportunity for players who are on the fringes of a top-16 squad to impress against Malaysia. With a strong core of 8-10 players, there's a bunch of players (Cory Bennett, Marcus Child, Jared Panchia, Nick Ross, Alex Shaw, Nic Woods and Kane Russell) all in need of strong performances.

With the 25-man squad named yesterday, here's a bit of a Black Sticks mens depth chart as of March 1st.

Strikers

Core: Simon Child, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Shay Neal, James Coughlan (also midfield), Blair Hilton, Nick Wilson.

Fringe: Jared Panchia, Jacob Smith, Dominic Newman

Midfield

Core: Ryan Archibald, Arun Panchia, George Muir, Shea McAleese (also defence)

Fringe: Marcus Child, Nic Woods, Nick Ross

Defenders

Core: Blair Tarrant, Nick Haig, Alex Shaw, Kane Russell, Brad Shaw

Goalkeepers

Devon Manchester, Kyle Pontifex