Two time Olympian Anita McLaren will suit up for the first time since the Rio Olympic Games when the Vantage Black Sticks Women travel to Argentina next month.
McLaren (nee Punt), with 247 internationals to her name, is one of 20 players named to play Argentina in a five-test series from 20-27 February in Buenos Aires.
As the Vantage Black Sticks Womens leading all-time goal scorer, 30-year-old McLaren will add some venom to her sides attack especially from penalty corners.
Striker Michaela Curtis has earned a re-call while goalkeeper Brooke Roberts will have an opportunity to show her stuff against the worlds number three ranked side.
Stacey Michelsen (244) and Sam Charlton (208) add significant experience to the talented group with striker Kirsten Pearce returning after missing the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in Auckland through injury.
Head coach Mark Hager was looking forward his teams first hit-out of 2018 ahead of an important year which includes the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and World Cup in London.
“This is a great series against quality opposition which allows us to test ourselves and see where we are all at leading into the rest of the year,” he said.
“Its great to have Anita back with the group and she will certainly add a lot of speed and athleticism to our midfield as well as her experience.
“Were looking at the series as a good opportunity to also give some young players extra exposure, such as Michaela Curtis, Tarryn Davey and Madi Doar.
“Sally Rutherford was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the World League Final so Grace OHanlon and Brooke Roberts have been given an opportunity on this tour to continue building depth in that crucial position.”
The Vantage Black Sticks Womens 2018 National and Development Squads will be announced later this week.
VANTAGE BLACK STICKS WOMEN
Argentina Tour, 20-27 February, 2018
PLAYER NAME / REGION / POSITION / AGE / CAPS
Sam CHARLTON / Midlands / Defender / 26 / 208
Michaela CURTIS / Central / Striker / 24 / 46
Tarryn DAVEY / Midlands / Defender/Midfielder / 21 / 16
Frances DAVIES / Midlands / Defender / 21 / 34
Madison DOAR / Auckland / Striker / 18 / 8
Shiloh GLOYN / Midlands / Midfielder / 28 / 52
Ella GUNSON / Northland / Defender / 28 / 174
Sam HARRISON / Auckland / Striker / 26 / 133
Pippa HAYWARD / Canterbury / Defender / 27 / 148
Anita McLAREN / Capital / Midfielder / 30 / 247
Rose KEDDELL / Midlands / Defender / 23 / 159
Olivia MERRY / Canterbury / Striker / 25 / 181
Stacey MICHELSEN / Northland / Defender / 26 / 244
Brooke NEAL / Northland / Defender / 25 / 131
Grace OHANLON / TBC / Goalkeeper / 25 / 24
Kirsten PEARCE / North Harbour / Striker / 26 / 93
Brooke ROBERTS / North Harbour / Goalkeeper / 22 / 3
Amy ROBINSON / Midlands / Striker / 21 / 40
Kelsey SMITH / Capital / Striker / 23 / 65
Liz THOMPSON / Auckland / Defender / 23 / 160
Photos : Ned Dawson | Planet Hockey