Madonna Blyth is poised to become the second-most capped player in Hockeyroos’ history heading into next month’s women’s hockey World Cup.
Queenslander Blyth, 28, was named on Wednesday among a relatively young 18-player Australian squad for the World Cup in The Netherlands.
She is set to pass former skipper Rechelle Hawkes – the only player to win three Olympic gold medals – when she plays her 280th game during the build-up in Europe, leaving her behind only retired Nikki Hudson’s record 303 games.
While captain Blyth has experience to burn, coach Adam Commens’ World Cup squad contains only seven players from the last World Cup in 2010 where Australia finished fifth and just nine from the 2012 Olympics.
Teneal Attard, 29, and Blyth are the only squad members who played at the 2006 World Cup in Madrid where the Hockeyroos won silver.
However the Hockeyroos have been on an upswing since the London Olympics winning gold medals at the Oceania Cup and World League semi-final tournaments, and a silver medal at the World League Finals in Argentina last November.
“We’re a team that has shown it can match it with the top sides in the world,” said Commens.
“There’s a misconception that we’ve been together for a long time but we’ve had significant turnover since the Olympic Games.
“There’s a lot of talent in our squad though, we performed well in 2013 and we’re aiming to reach the semi-finals.
“We’re more than capable of reaching that stage and performing well against the top nations. From there, anything can happen.
“The Dutch are the clear number one and they’re in our pool. We’ll get a good indication from that match of where we’re at but I certainly don’t believe we fear anyone in the other side of the draw.”
Hockeyroos’ World Cup squad: Teneal Attard (Qld), Madonna Blyth (Qld), Edwina Bone (ACT), Jane Claxton (SA), Kirstin Dwyer (Qld), Casey Eastham (NSW), Anna Flanagan (ACT), Emily Hurtz (NSW), Kate Jenner (NSW), Jodie Kenny (Qld), Rachael Lynch (Vic), Karri McMahon (SA), Georgia Nanscawen (Vic), Ashleigh Nelson (WA), Georgie Parker (SA), Emily Smith (NSW), Ashlee Wells (Vic), Kellie White (NSW).