Hockey: Hager sticks with tried and true

By Terry Maddaford

Black Sticks' coach Mark Hager. Photo / Natalie Slade
Black Sticks' coach Mark Hager. Photo / Natalie Slade

Mark Hager has resisted any temptation to make sweeping changes to his 18-strong squad for the second of two Four Nations tournaments in Auckland this week.

In the only changes for the second series which starts at the Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium this afternoon, Hager has brought in Sophie Devine and Petrea Webster in place of Sam Harrison and Alana Millington who played in the first series and were members of the Black Sticks team who beat Australia 3-2 in Monday night's final.

Hager always planned for minimal changes although he did want to be able to rotate players as part of the wider Olympic preparation. He will continue to cast his eye over the wider national squad before he has to name his final 18-strong Olympic squad in mid-June. The squad will be reduced to 16 on the eve of the London Olympics.

After a slow start to their year and after losing 3-1 to Australia in the second match of the first series at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium, the Black Sticks hit back in style to beat the Hockeyroos in the final and set the benchmark for the second series.

There is no time for Hager and his players to relax, however, as they meet the Australians in the second of today's games following India and the United States opener - a replay of their 3rd v 4th playoff on Monday won by the US with a penalty stroke in extra time after being locked 1-1 after 70 minutes.

The final of the second series will be played on Sunday night.

WOMEN'S FOUR NATIONS, SECOND SERIES
(Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium)

* Today: India v United States 1pm; New Zealand v Australia 3pm.
* Tomorrow: Australia v India 1pm; NZ v United States 3pm.
* Saturday: Australia v United States 5.30pm; New Zealand v India 7.30pm.
* Sunday: 3rd v 4th 5pm; final 7.30pm.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 21 Apr 2014 06:05:53 Processing Time: 336ms