Three teams provide the lions share of the Black Sticks women's hockey squad for next months' World League semifinal in Brussels.

The fifth-ranked New Zealand side includes five players from the Waikato-based Midlands side, with four apiece coming from Northland and Canterbury.

There is plenty of depth in the 18-strong squad, even though six highly-experienced players have opted to take a break from the game this year.

Ten players have over 130 caps, headed by world class defender-cum midfielder Stacey Michelsen, with 224 internationals.


The least-capped player is unattached goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon, who has been based in Australia but is now living in Auckland. She's won just 10 caps but edged out Auckland's Amelia Gibson for the second keeping job alongside vastly-experienced Sally Rutherford.

New Zealand coach Mark Hager has given all his players decent match time recently to put their case for selection.

The world No 5 Black Sticks won the Hawkes Bay Cup in Hastings in April, then beat India 5-0 in their most recent series which ended last weekend.

In one sense, the world tournament has an element of importance removed for New Zealand. They will host the world league final in Auckland in November so don't need to worry about qualifying.

However they should do well in the 10-nation tournament.

Their pool matches are against Spain (ranked 10), Australia (4), Belgium (14) and Malaysia (22) before quarter-finals, semis and final playoffs.

New Zealand women's squad for the World League semifinal in Brussels next month:

Goalkeepers: Grace O'Hanlon (unattached), Sally Rutherford (Midlands)

Defenders/Midfielders: Sam Charlton, Natasha Fitzimons, Rose Keddell (Midlands), Erin Goad (North Harbour), Ella Gunson, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal (Northland), Liz Thompson (Auckland), Pippa Hayward, Jordan Grant, Rachel McCann (Canterbury).

Strikers: Kelsey Smith (Capital), Sam Harrison (Auckland), Kirsten Pearce (North Harbour), Olivia Merry (Canterbury), Amy Robinson (Midlands). Travelling reserve: Frances Davies (Midlands).

World League schedule (NZT):
June 22: v Spain
June 25: v Australia
June 26: v Belgium
June 28: v Malaysia
Knockout matches start June 30