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News for 27 May 2021

All the news for Thursday 27 May 2021

Trans-Tasman Series 2021 - 27 May

2021 Test Matches NZL vs AUS (M)

Palmerston North (NZL)

27 May 2021     NZL v AUS   1 - 3
28 May 2021 17:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS
30 May 2021 15:00 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS
01 Jun 2021 19:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS

2021 Test Matches NZL vs AUS (W)
Palmerston North (NZL)

27 May 2021     NZL v AUS   1 - 1
28 May 2021 19:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS
30 May 2021 13:00 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS
01 Jun 2021 17:30 (GMT +12)     NZL v AUS

FIH Match Centre

Australia score two late goals to overcome Black Sticks' men

Brendon Egan

New Zealand captain Blair Tarrant leaves the turf after being clobbered by the ball in the head against Australia. William Booth/Photosport

Australia netted two late goals to deny the Black Sticks men a dream start to the trans-Tasman hockey series.

The Kookaburras took out game one 3-1 on Thursday night at the new Massey University turf in Palmerston North.

Australia broke New Zealand’s hearts with a strike with three minutes to go with Trent Mitton netting with a rebound effort to put them back in front. Tom Wickham then added a third in the dying minutes to cement the win.

The Black Sticks looked like they might have rescued a draw, scoring with six minutes left through 19-year-old debutant Sean Findlay.

With one of their rare scoring opportunities, Taradale High School product Findlay produced a powerful finish to level the score at 1-all late in the game.

It was some strike from Findlay, who caught Australia napping with Hugo Inglis taking the quick free hit.

The Black Sticks men were playing their first international in 453 days, last taking the turf on March 1 last year against Argentina in Christchurch – before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold around the globe.

New Zealand's Kane Russell looks to make a pass against Australia in the first test in Palmerston North. William Booth/Photosport

This is a pivotal four-game series for the Zealand and Australian men's and women's sides as they settle upon selections for the Tokyo Olympics in two months’ time.

New Zealand were dealt an early blow with captain Blair Tarrant clobbered in the head by the ball from a hard struck shot from Wickham after just three minutes. Tarrant left the field, to receive stitches and wasn’t able to return.

World No.2 Australia have dominated the New Zealand men, ranked eighth, over the last decade with the Black Sticks winning just two matches.

Australia scored the opening goal of the game midway through the third quarter with striker Tim Brand getting a deflection onto a reverse shot from Daniel Beale.

The Kookaburras made most of the running in the first quarter, but neither side was able to find the back of the net in the opening 15 minutes.

It was still scoreless at halftime with Australia looking the more threatening side in the first half, but they weren’t able to breach New Zealand's defence. Australia had 21 circle entries in the first half and seven shots at goal, compared to the Black Sticks, who didn’t have any attempts.

The Black Sticks made several promising attacking forays into the Australian goal circle, but weren’t able to capitalise.

Manawatū local Nick Wilson made his return to the New Zealand side in his hometown, returning to the Black Sticks for the first time since the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 170-test striker will call time on his successful career following the Tokyo Games.

Australia had the opening penalty corner of the game seven minutes into the first quarter, but Leon Hayward pulled off a strong save to deny them.

Hayward, in his eighth test for New Zealand, was in an interesting situation playing against brother Jeremy in the Australian side.

Born to a Kiwi mother, Darwin-raised Leon featured in 13 matches for Australia before committing to New Zealand (after a four year stand-down period), making his first appearance in 2019. George Enersen was used in the second half in goal for New Zealand with Hayward keeping a clean sheet.

The New Zealand and Australian men's and women's sides also play double-headers on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday in Palmerston North.


Australia 3 (Tim Brand, Trent Mitton, Tom Wickham) Black Sticks 1 (Sean Findlay)


Olivia Shannon helps Black Sticks women to a draw against Australia

Brendon Egan

Black Sticks skipper Stacey Michelsen brings the ball forward in Thursday’s game one against Australia. William Booth/Photosport

The Black Sticks women made a frustrating return to international hockey, drawing their first game back in 15 months.

New Zealand had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Australia in the opening game of their trans-Tasman series at Palmerston North's Massey University turf on Thursday night.

Manawatū local Olivia Shannon helped the Black Sticks to a draw with her fourth international goal, allowing New Zealand to tie the game in the final quarter. Shannon, 20, grew up on a farm in Waituna West, near Feilding, and attended school at Havelock North's Iona College.

Playing their first international since March 2020 after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Sticks would have been disappointed with their accuracy in front of goal.

They had six penalty corners and a raft of attacking opportunities, but were guilty of not being able to finish accurately.

With only 16 players making the cut for the Tokyo Olympics, fringe Black Sticks’ performers have their last chance to push for selection in this series.

Trailing 1-0, Shannon levelled for the Black Sticks, grabbing the equaliser with a smart flick between her legs from Sam Charlton's initial shot with 12 minutes left.

Australia defender Sophie Taylor controls the ball against the Black Sticks on Thursday. William Booth/Photosport

It was a desperately needed goal for the Black Sticks, who had done everything but put the ball in the back of the net up until that point.

New Zealand dominated possession and territory to start the game with Australia being starved of the ball.

Both sides had late chances to find the winner in an exciting finish with New Zealand goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon pulling off a crucial save from Emily Chalker with two minutes left.

New Zealand's Kelsey Smith had the best opportunity of the first quarter in the closing seconds, but dragged her shot wide.

Down 1-0 at halftime, the Black Sticks should have equalised early in the second half, but Julia King missed a wide open goal at the right post.

King went close to redeeming herself minutes later, but was unable to connect.

Australia's goalkeeper for the second half, Jocelyn Bartram, denied New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen with a powerful attempt at goal.

Bartram ensured the Hockeyroos took a 1-0 lead into the final quarter, keeping out a shot from prolific striker Olivia Merry, which she wasn’t quite able to get her full timing behind.

It was a special night for Manawatū-based Black Sticks’ veteran Kayla Whitelock playing in her 257th test.

The 35-year-old midfielder is poised to attend her fifth Olympics in Tokyo, joining an elite group of Kiwi athletes to have attended that many Games. Whitelock first went to the Olympics in Athens in 2004 as a teenager.

Against the run of play, Australia earned back-to-back penalty corners early in the second quarter with O’Hanlon able to keep the Hockeyroos out.

After a quiet first quarter, Australia had greater attacking opportunities and made New Zealand pay for not taking advantage of their opportunities.

Australia punished New Zealand for a turnover with a well taken goal from Rosie Malone late in the first half, beating O’Hanlon with an excellent finish.

Shannon earned the Black Sticks their first penalty corner of the game three minutes prior to halftime.

New Zealand had three penalty corners in a row, but Australia survived. They had a fourth penalty corner, but were unable to beat goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, who was a standout in the first half, before being replaced at halftime.

The sides clash again on Friday night at 7.30pm with matches also on Sunday and Tuesday.


Black Sticks 1(Olivia Shannon) Australia 1 (Rosie Malone)


From farmer in the sticks to a return to the Black Sticks

Suzanne McFadden

Tessa Jopp of New Zealand pushes past Natsuha Matsumoto of Japan during the final match between New Zealand and Japan at the 2017 Festival of Hockey. Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

Since Black Stick Tessa Jopp's heart stopped her playing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she's found her happy place farming. But a chance to play at the Tokyo Olympics has come out of the blue.

When Tessa Jopp got the unexpected phone call from Black Sticks coach Graham Shaw, she had to stop and weigh it all up.

Could she give up mustering thousands of sheep on her hill country station, Maritanga, with its stunning 360 degree views across the Maniototo Plain, and return to life in the big smoke?

Could she leave behind her partner and her new huntaway dog, Joey, to have a shot at playing hockey at the Tokyo Olympics?

Was her heart – the defective organ which had robbed her a chance of winning Commonwealth Games gold – really in it?

“I was 50:50,” Jopp admits. “I had to think about it a little bit.”

The 25-year-old Black Stick loved working on the Central Otago family farm where she'd grown up, and she’d just moved in with her boyfriend, Sam, after years of “doing the long-distance thing”.

“I was finally settling down. I’d just got myself a dog,” Jopp says. “But Sam said: ‘You can’t not have a crack at the Olympics; it’s only for six months of your life’. In the end, it was a no-brainer,” Jopp says.

So earlier this year, Jopp packed up and moved back to Auckland to train with the Black Sticks squad working towards the Olympics in July. And she’ll finally make her return to the black dress this week after a two-year absence, in the long-awaited test series against Australia in Palmerston North which starts today.

The four-test series – the first Black Sticks v Hockeyroos encounters since September 2019 - doubles as a trial for the team who will go to Tokyo. And if Jopp makes the final cut, it will go a long way to assuaging her disappointment at being ruled out of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast just a week before they began.

Jopp was all set to play in her first major tournament for the Black Sticks when a routine medical check before the team left New Zealand turned up something unusual.

It showed Jopp had an enlarged heart. A cardiologist put her through more tests, which revealed her heart had “poor pump function”.

“Initially he thought it could have been acute, and I could have died if I’d exercised,” Jopp says. “But after we made the call about pulling out of the Games, he decided it was a ‘grey zone’.”

Jopp hadn’t had any symptoms before the diagnosis – and hasn’t since. But she’s now taking blood pressure medication every day to protect her heart.

“When I’m in the high performance environment, and putting extra stress on my heart, I get it checked every six months,” she says. “But if it got worse, I would pull myself out straight away. My health is way more important – it’s my heart.”

You could say Jopp was heartbroken by having to withdraw from the team nine days before their first game on the Gold Coast.

“Gutted is the word I use for it all the time,” the 23-cap defender says. “Up until then, I’d been a fringe player and I’d finally got chosen for a major tournament. It was my big chance.”

Her parents, Maree and Dave, already had their tickets to the Games, and so they paid for their daughter to join them as a spectator, and watch the Black Sticks win their first gold medal.

“Some people wouldn’t cope with it that way, they probably wouldn’t want to be around hockey,” Jopp says. “But I really enjoyed it.”

New Zealand’s chef de mission, Rob Waddell - whose own sporting career was beset by heart problems - got her into the Games village to spend a day with the team.

So how much pressure is Jopp putting on herself to make these Olympics?

“You could get really caught up in that stuff and it could bring you down,” she says. “But my friend said to me: ‘After this, you’re either going to be an Olympian or you’re going to be a farmer. And both are awesome.’ And that’s so true. Both things would make me super happy. So it will be OK either way.”

Jopp admits she fell out of love with hockey a couple of years ago. Then a North Harbour team-mate, Hannah Williamson, was heading back to play club hockey in Belgium at the end of 2019.

“She saw that I was in a bit of a rut, and said ‘Hey we have a spot in our team, do you want to come play?’” Jopp recalls. “It was honestly the best thing I ever did – for me and for my hockey. It gave me that real purpose to get out, keep playing hockey and do it differently.”

Jopp came home for Christmas then returned to Belgium in January to play out the rest of the season. But by mid-March she was on her way home again as the coronavirus pandemic swept across Europe.

Since Black Stick Tessa Jopp's heart stopped her playing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she's found her happy place farming. But a chance to play at the Tokyo Olympics has come out of the blue. Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

“We were just starting to hit our straps – we were winning games. It was such a shame. We trained on a Wednesday night and by Thursday morning everything was cancelled. We flew back to New Zealand on the Sunday just before the borders closed,” she says.

Despite the brief stints, Jopp says she gained so much – and got her love of hockey back.

“Belgium made me more confident on the field and not so flustered. If you love what you do, then you want to be involved and do everything. And when you’re not super-happy, you tend to hide a bit. It even affects your energy in trainings,” she says.

Jopp went straight back to work on the farm at Kokonga, in the Maniototo, rekindling another passion. Although she has a marketing degree from her years studying at Massey University while playing hockey in Auckland, Jopp has always wanted to be a farmer.

“You do the same thing every year but it’s always different because of the weather. I love being outdoors and active, and I love stock,” she says.

Every day she would make the 20-minute drive on dusty roads from Sam’s family farm to Maritanga Station – made up of steep hill country and flat land. The Jopps farm around 10,000 sheep and cows.

“I really enjoy the big musters. Out on the motorbike with your dog on the front, going out mustering sheep or cattle off the hill. At the top, we have 360 degree views of the Maniototo right down to Middlemarch,” Jopp says.

Jopp would be thrilled if she makes the final 18 Black Sticks bound for Tokyo. And she knows she will have to be adaptable to cope with whatever these extraordinary Olympic Games throw at her. Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

“Just being up there is awesome. I feel very lucky.”

When the hockey season sparked up again after Covid-19 lockdowns, Jopp played for the Southern Alpiners in the Premier Hockey League. That’s when the Black Sticks coach saw her refreshed attitude and sharpened skills on the field and called her up. She was in the farmhouse when he phoned.

Of course, Jopp would be thrilled if she makes the final 18 Black Sticks bound for Tokyo. And she knows she will have to be adaptable to cope with whatever these extraordinary Olympic Games throw at her.

But she’s already proved her heart can withstand setbacks and change, many times over.


2021 Test matches GER v CAN - 27 May
Hamburg (GER)

23 May 2021     GER v CAN     5 - 0
27 May 2021 13:00 (GMT +2)     GER v CAN

FIH Match Centre

2021 Test Matches BLR v UKR (W) - 27 May
Brest (BLR)

27 May 2021 17:00 (GMT +3)     BLR v UKR
29 May 2021 17:30 (GMT +3)     BLR v UKR
30 May 2021 10:30 (GMT +3)     BLR v UKR

FIH Match Centre

No surprises in Belgium’s EuroHockey men’s team

Belgium men will be defending their EuroHockey title PIC: Hockey Belgium

Shane McLeod, the Kiwi coach of world No 1 outfit Belgium, has unveiled his Red Lions men’s squad which unsurprisingly exudes an air of familiarity.

Since winning the 2018 men’s World Cup, Belgium have played 27 and lost four in the FIH Pro League in amidst winning the EuroHockey title on home soil two year’s ago.

Sebastien Dockier is included, Victor Wegnez has recovered from an ankle injury, while Emmanuel Stockbroekx is still recovering from a head injury sustained in the Belgian leagues.

The 18-strong squad will begin the defence of their title against Spain on June 5 before games against England and Russia.

Belgium EuroHockey squad:

Vincent Vanasch, Loic Van Doren, Arthur Van Doren, Gauthier Boccard, Arthur De Sloover, Loick Luypaert, Alexander Hendrickx, Felix Denayer, John John Dohmen, Simon Gougnard, Antoine Kina, Victor Wegnez, Florent van Aubel, Nicolas De Kerpel , Cédric Charlier, Sébastien Dockier, Thomas Briels, Tom Boon.

Meanwhile, Marc Coudron, the outgoing Belgium hockey president, hinted that he wouldn’t run in the next FIH election, despite losing out 63-61 to Narinder Batra at the weekend.

Coudron said that he hoped for 70 votes at the election which would have been enough to oust Batra, who now sits for a second term.

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The Hockey Paper

UP TO US Ireland hockey ace Róisín Upton says they cannot underestimate the importance of the European Championships

Neil O'Riordan

Upton at the launch of Circle K’s To Team Ireland initiative

RÓISÍN UPTON says Ireland cannot afford to treat the European Championships as a dry run for the Olympics.

But the hockey star hopes the team can get momentum in Holland next week to bring to Japan in July.

There are just seven weeks between Ireland’s Euro opener against the hosts, on Saturday week, and their first fixture in Tokyo against South Africa.

But Upton, 27, insisted the players are in agreement both have to be taken in isolation.

She said: “We were actually discussing that, just so that everybody was on the same page, and there’s actually a lot to be lost in the Euros.

“You’re talking relegation, there’s a World Cup qualification spot up for grabs.


"We’re going to have some people retire after the Olympics and we don’t want to leave Hockey Ireland in a worse place for the next girls coming through.

“So our only focus is on the European Championships.

"We’ve never finished higher than fifth and you need to finish top five to qualify for the World Cup next summer, so we’re just looking forward to that.”

Having reached the last World Cup final, where they were beaten by the Dutch, failing to qualify for the next one would represent a major blow.


And the Limerick woman said: “You want to gain momentum, you want to be feeling good about yourselves.

“The last thing you want is to come last in a tournament, God forbid, and then you’re going into an Olympic Games with morale being low in the squad.

“You wouldn’t be human if the Olympics wasn’t at the back of your mind but there are big opportunities at the Europeans and if we look past, it we’ll miss those opportunities.”

The team has been using Sport Institute Northern Ireland facilities to try to prepare for the conditions in Tokyo.


Upton explained: “If we are up there for a week we usually do two active heat sessions.

"Because it is so hot it actually doesn’t take as much effort to get your heart rate up.

“We also do two passive heat sessions where it is much hotter than in a heat chamber but doesn’t have the humidity aspect and you just sit there for a half an hour sweating it out.

“In an ideal world we would have got to Malaysia and had a warm-weather tournament but we are lucky to have those facilities.”


The postponed Olympics meant Upton had to again delay her H Dip and start work as a primary school teacher.

She followed with interest the discussion of funding in sport in Ireland after the decision to give female inter-county GAA players the same €1,200 grant as their male counterparts.

Although a progressive move, it raised questions about funding of other sports — but Upton, who played Gaelic football for Mungret St Paul’s and soccer for Janesboro, is unsure if funding every aspiring Olympian in a team sport is attainable.

She added: “In an ideal world of course but how realistic is it to fund an entire team versus individual athletes?

“I’m not too sure, when you go into an Olympic cycle there is a potential, I’d say, of around 500 athletes who could qualify.

“We are lucky that since the World Cup we’ve had Park Developments come on board who are a private sponsor, so that we can train part-time and so people could take time off work like I have.”

The Irish Sun

Positives aplenty from Burras Gold Coast camp

Australia’s Under 21 Men’s squad, the Burras have completed a successful training camp on the Gold Coast as preparations continue for the FIH Junior World Cup.

The training camp, which was made possible thanks to City of Gold Coast, featured 44 of Australia’s best Under 21 male hockey talent.

Overseen by Head Coach Ben Bishop, the week long National Junior Camp was also attended by a host of National Institute Network and Pathway coaches and staff plus Hockey Australia High Performance Pathways Manager Ian Rutledge and National Athlete Pathway Program (NAPP) Technical Lead Mark Knowles.

Players were put through three days of high intensity training before competing in intra-squad matches.

“It was fantastic to be able to gather our U21 Nationally identified athletes together for the first time in over 18 months,” said Bishop.

“The athletes showed a high level of engagement and the quality on display was pleasing. The camp sets our program up very well for the events that will unfold throughout 2021 and beyond.

“I look forward to seeing the athletes’ improvement towards performances at the U21 Australian Championships where we will look to further narrow our squad for future development and competition opportunities.”

Being at his first Burras camp since being appointed to the Technical Lead role, Knowles was also impressed by what he saw.

“There was a high level of skill, both technically and tactically from the players,” said Knowles.

“Looking ahead, a major emphasis for our Pathways players remains on pass and receive quality both stationary and in movement, tackling skills and penalty corner execution.”

There was also an important off field component to the camp with the players undertaking numerous learning sessions.

These sessions included one by 2004 Olympic gold medal winning Kookaburra Nathan Eglington, who spoke about his hockey journey and learnings throughout his career.

Kookaburras Culture Coach Brian Fitzpatrick also took time out to spend time with the Burras squad, discussing high performance behaviours and expectations from within the Kookaburras group.

Taking in every aspect of the camp, Knowles said it provided him and all of the coaches with a good indication of the current performance levels and standard at this age level and the importance of creating the best possible development pathways.

“This camp provided me with a good gauge of our player depth and also showcased the level that our recently selected National Futures squad will be striving to get to and emulate,” said Knowles.

“Both the Burras and the Men’s Futures Squad are important stepping stones to providing a larger group of players ready to play for the Kookaburras in the years to come.”

The next major event for those who attended the camp will be the Australian Under 21 Championships which begin on 30 June in Moorebank, New South Wales.

Hockey Australia media release

Hall of Fame member Nora Smith passes away

Hockey Ireland Hall of Fame member Nora Smith has passed away this week peacefully at the Beacon Hospital.

She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of her exceptional international career which spanned from 1961 to 1967 and encompassed 20 caps.

An outstanding centre-half and passer of the ball, the Muckross player was a member of the touring team to the USA in 1963 and Germany in 1967.

She went on to become the Irish women’s first ever coach from 1973 to 1976 and she subsequently became Genesis’s first coach, helping them reach the Irish Senior Cup final in 1981 just five years after their inception.

Funeral information is available via RIP.ie: https://rip.ie/death-notice/nora-smith-bray-wicklow/459479

Irish Hockey Association media release

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