If New Zealand are to make their presence felt at the sharp end of the World League Final, they will need a few things to happen, one being Stacey Michelsen's A game.

The Black Sticks co-captain is among the world's finest players and the world No 5 team will need the Northland midfielder on song late next week.

Michelsen was a handful for the Dutch defence in Friday's opening game, although the plans went awry as the world No 1 team took them apart with a clinical 4-0 victory on Auckland's North Shore.

New Zealand took another blow to their hopes when they lost 2-1 to world No 9 South Korea on Saturday night.


Michelsen, who went into the tournament with 235 international caps, was happy with her form going into the event, which is the last in the format, before the game switches to a global nine-team Pro League in early 2019.

She is also aware of the importance of the coming week for the sport in this country.

So much of the Black Sticks' year is taken up with competitions overseas. The leading New Zealand players, men and women, are among the most travelled of any sports team in the country.

Therefore, hosting eight of the world's top nine teams is a big deal, a rare chance to showcase their game to a home audience.

"You have your main goal of winning the tournament and playing well as a team," Michelsen said.

"But there are other elements, about doing the country proud and putting on a good display of hockey."

Michelsen, 26 and a good chance to be a finalist when the shortlist of women for the World Player of the Year is released at the start of December, reckons she's a self-starter, not someone who needs motivation.

"I have personal standards in the way I want to play and recognise my commitment for the team and wanting to perform my role for the team.

"I don't think I'm necessarily motivated by past or future events. I'm just focused in terms of my role for a game, or tournament."

After pool games, finishing against the world No 7 United States tomorrow night, teams move into quarter-finals from Wednesday, where the crossover rules apply, that is top finisher in pool A plays the fourth placegetter in pool B and so on.

On seedings, New Zealand should make the semifinals next Saturday, but there's not much between teams.

Michelsen knows much depends on her performance in leading a Black Sticks team shorn of a core of experienced players after they finished fourth for a second consecutive Olympic Games.

"A big part of my role is leading by example. That's the most important thing.

"It's something I think about a lot. As long as we can gel together as a unit, we should go well."