The Hockeyroos have warmed up for the 2018 World Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 win over India in Monday’s practice match in London.
Queensland midfielder Stephanie Kershaw opened the scoring late in the first quarter in the clash between the fifth-ranked Hockeyroos and 10th-ranked India.
Gerringong product Grace Stewart netted the second goal in the second quarter, with Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith sliding home the third shortly after.
Kershaw said: “It was good to get a hit-out. Even if it was the second pitch, it was nice to get our first hit-out in London and get the cobwebs out after arriving here late last week.
“I thought we played well, with a lot of attacking play. We’re trying to build our connection between the lines. It was good to get on the scoresheet personally.”
All three of the Hockeyroos’ goals came via field goals rather than penalty corners, showcasing improvement in finding new avenues to goal.
“It was nice to get some field goals,” Townsville product Kershaw said. “It’s very good for our confidence hopefully we can get a few more when the tournament starts.”
The Hockeyroos have been in London since Thursday, training at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre for the first time over the weekend. Kershaw said the mood among the team was positive.
“Everyone is having fun. We’re loving life and loving London,” she said.
“Everyone is excited to get it underway. The stadium looks great. We can’t wait to play in front of the big crowds.”
The Hockeyroos will next play Great Britain in a practice match on Wednesday, before their World Cup campaign commences against Japan from 5am Sunday AEST, live on FOX SPORTS.
Kershaw, who is playing at her first World Cup, said Australia’s recent experience against Japan, having played them in Queenstown in May and in Adelaide last November, will help their cause.
“It’s definitely good we’ve played them recently,” the 23-year-old said. “They’re staying at the same hotel too, so we’ve built a bit of a rivalry.
“We need to concentrate on what we want to do, rather than them. We want to play with our attacking structure in mind.
“It’s really important we start well and win our first few games to build some momentum in this format.”
The Hockeyroos, who were World Cup runners-up in 2014, are in Pool D against Japan, Belgium and New Zealand.
Australia’s Women’s Hockey World Cup team:
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Kristina Bates (Port Melbourne, VIC)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Kalindi Commerford (Mollymook, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Emily Hurtz (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Ambrosia Malone (Burleigh, QLD)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Australia’s Women’s Hockey World Cup Schedule (all times AEST):
Sunday 22 July 5am – Australia v Japan
Tuesday 24 July 11pm – Australia v Belgium
Sunday 29 July 5am – Australia v New Zealand
Monday/Tuesday 30/31 July TBC – Playoffs
Wednesday/Thursday 1/2 August TBC – Quarter-finals
Saturday 4 August TBC – Semi-finals
Sunday/Monday 5/6 August 11pm/1:30am – Bronze medal/Gold medal match