Teams bursting with excitement to play international hockey again

The drought of international hockey on our shores will be broken tomorrow night in Palmerston North when the Vantage Black Sticks take on Australia.

The four captains at today’s photo call were like excited debutants to be within 24 hours of finally putting 15 months of training into action in the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series.

Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Captain Stacey Michelsen said the squad was full of nervous excitement.

“There’s a little bit of nerves in the group which shows we’re excited to be playing and that we recognise it will be a big step up from what we’ve been doing without any international test matches.”

Michelsen, the most capped ever Black Stick with 287 matches for her country, described the series against the Hockeyroos as heading into the unknown.

“It is a bit of an unknown as we normally scout teams so well but with the lack of hockey we haven’t been able to do that. So for us it’s really honing in what we know we can do well and just being prepared for the fast-paced attacking style that we know Australia bring to their game.”

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Captain Blair Tarrant said it was a great opportunity to play a team of the quality of the Kookaburras in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

“The team’s been playing against each other for a year now so to test ourselves against another nation is massive.”

“Australia bring a high energy and high pressure game and they do it well. We also don’t know what they’re been up to hiding away in Perth for a year now.”

There are three debutants in the Black Sticks men’s squad – Wellington defender Oliver MacIntyre and the Hawke’s Bay pair of Sean Findlay (midfielder) and Sam Hiha (striker). They also welcome back prolific goalscorer Nick Wilson who last played for his country five years ago at the Rio Olympics.

Auckland striker Tyler Lench is the only uncapped player in the women’s squad.

The eight matches, to be played at the new Massey University turf in Palmerston North, will be the first internationals in New Zealand since the FIH Pro League was interrupted by Covid-19 in March last year.

The four doubleheaders will be broadcast live on either SKY Sport 2 or SKY Sport 9 as well as free to view on SKY Sport Next.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow, Friday and Tuesday, and can be purchased here.

The Black Sticks squads for the Tokyo Olympics will be named in the week after the Trans-Tasman series. The Black Sticks will then head to Perth to face the Hockeyroos and the Kookaburras in a two-match series on 26 and 27 June.

Vantage Black Sticks squads for the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series

Men: Steve Edwards, George Muir (North Harbour); Leon Hayward (GK), Jared Panchia (Auckland); Nic Woods (Waikato); Sean Findlay, Sam Hiha, Shea McAleese, Dylan Thomas (Hawke’s Bay); Nick Wilson (Manawatu); Stephen Jenness, Dane Lett, Oliver MacIntyre, Jacob Smith (Wellington); David Brydon, George Enersen (GK), Sam Lane, Dominic Newman (Canterbury); Hugo Inglis, Nick Ross, Kane Russell, Blair Tarrant (Otago).

Women: Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen (Northland); Steph Dickins (North Harbour); Katie Doar, Julia King, Tyler Lench, Grace O’Hanlon (GK), Liz Thompson (Auckland); Tarryn Davey (Thames Valley); Alia Jaques (Waikato); Samantha Charlton, Frances Davies, Rose Keddell (Tauranga); Holly Pearson, Hope Ralph (Taranaki); Georgia Barnett (GK), Kayla Whitelock, Olivia Shannon (Manawatu); Megan Hull (Wairarapa); Kelsey Smith (Nelson); Olivia Merry (Canterbury); Tessa Jopp (Otago).

For all four squads, click here.

Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series match schedule

Thursday 27 May (Sky Sport 2 & Sky Sport Next)
5.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Men v Kookaburras
7.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Women v Hockeyroos

Friday 28 May (Sky Sport 9 & Sky Sport Next)
5.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Men v Kookaburras
7.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Women v Hockeyroos

Sunday 30 May (Sky Sport 2 & Sky Sport Next)
1pm Vantage Black Sticks Women v Hockeyroos
3pm Vantage Black Sticks Men v Kookaburras

Tuesday 1 June (Sky Sport 9 & Sky Sport Next)
5.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Women v Hockeyroos
7.30pm Vantage Black Sticks Men v Kookaburras

  • May 26th, 2021 in
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