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World Champions look to continue rich vein of form

The 2020 season looks set to be an epic one for international field hockey, season two of the FIH Hockey Pro League gets underway this weekend for the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women as they look to build-up ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The second season of the FIH Hockey Pro League sees a change in the formula with teams playing half the teams at home and the other half of the sides overseas. New Zealand will host Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, USA Women and Spain, each of these sides will play two matches in New Zealand.

Graham Shaw enters his first full Pro League campaign with the Black Sticks Women and has named what looks to be a formidable side. Veteran strikers Kayla Whitelock and Gemma McCaw have been named in the side for their first international matches in 3 years; they will add a wealth of skill and experience to a team that has a great balance of youth and players with significant international experience.

Midfielder Sam Charlton said, “One of the key focuses for the team this year is going to be consistency, we can play a game that goes well, it is going to be important that we back that up every game this year”.

Defender Megan Hull said “Being able to expose young players in our community to top international teams is important as we look to grow our sport”.

The Belgium team will enter the contest with plenty of confidence after they held the world number two Hockeyroos to draws in both their matches this past weekend. Look for the Belgians to play with plenty of determination and hustle as they look to stifle the New Zealand attack.

Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Belgium, Saturday February 1st at 5pm – National Hockey Centre, Albany

Name

Position

Province

Caps

Georgia Barnett

Goalkeeper

Manawatu

29

Brooke Roberts

Goalkeeper

North Harbour

5

Megan Hull

Defender

Wairarapa

23

Fran Davies

Defender

Tauranga

71

Julia King

Defender

Auckland

115

Brooke Neal

Defender

Northland

168

Katie Doar

Defender / Mid

Auckland

7

Tayla White

Defender / Mid

Auckland

Debut

Tarryn Davey

Midfield

Thames Valley

55

Sam Charlton

Midfield

Tauranga

245

Holly Pearson

Midfield

Taranaki

12

Stacey Michelsen

Midfield

Northland

279

Rose Keddell

Midfield

Tauranga

201

Rachel McCann

Striker

Canterbury

68

Gemma McCaw

Striker

Tauranga

246

Olivia Shannon

Striker

Hawkes Bay

17

Olivia Merry

Striker

Canterbury

224

Kayla Whitelock

Striker

Manawatu

255

The Vantage Black Sticks Men have named an impressive side for their battle with the world number team Belgium. Having just beaten Australia in their doubleheader over the weekend to retain the number one ranking, the world champions will be looking to continue their impressive start to the 2020 season.

Darren Smith has been able to recall to outstanding double centurions for the first Pro League match of the 2020 season as Steve Edwards and Simon Child will see their first action in the new format when they line up on the pitch at the impressive new National Hockey Centre in Auckland.

Black Sticks Striker Hugo Inglis commented ahead of the season “It’s a pinnacle year for us, and the side is building nicely towards that. We are hopeful of putting on some strong performances in front of our home crowd”.

Belgium are the world champions for a reason and have weapons all over the field.  They will be looking for their outstanding goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch to set the tone early on in the contest as he has his defenders in great positions and they work outstandingly well together as a defensive unit.

On the New Zealand side of the field look out for veteran striker Simon Child who is within touching distance of the all-time leading goalscoring mark of 150 for the Black Sticks Men, Child currently sits eight goals back of the target set by Phil Burrows. Don’t be surprised to see Child if given space in the circle slot one into the back of the net on Saturday evening.

Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Belgium, Saturday February 1st at 7:30pm – National Hockey Centre, Albany

First Name

Position

Province

Caps

Leon Hayward

Goalkeeper

Auckland

4

Richard Joyce

Goalkeeper

North Harbour

82

Shea McAleese

Defender

Hawkes Bay

304

Blair Tarrant

Defender

Otago

206

Cory Bennett

Defender

North Harbour

102

Kane Russell

Defender

Otago

155

Dane Lett

Defender

Wairarapa

69

Arun Panchia

Defender

Auckland

285

Nic Woods

Midfield

Waikato

122

Nick Ross

Midfield

Otago

122

Aidan Sarikaya

Midfield

Thames Valley

41

Steve Edwards

Midfield

North Harbour

213

Marcus Child

Midfield

Auckland

165

Jared Panchia

Midfield

Auckland

127

Simon Child

Striker

Auckland

280

George Muir

Striker

North Harbour

135

Stephen Jenness

Striker

Wellington

244

Sam Lane

Striker

South Canterbury

57

Jacob Smith

Striker

Wellington

79

 

  • January 28th, 2020 in
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