Long wait for Trans-Tasman hockey action is over

After 14 months without any international hockey, New Zealand and Australia will go head-to-head in the Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North starting in three weeks.

The four-match series for both men and women will be the final selection event before the two countries name their Tokyo Olympic squads.

The new Massey University turf will play host to the series between the Vantage Black Sticks and the Australian Hockeyroos and Kookaburras on Thursday 27, Friday 28 and Sunday 30 May and Tuesday 1 June. They will be the first internationals in New Zealand since the FIH Pro League was interrupted by Covid-19 in March 2020.

Hockey New Zealand Chief Executive Anthony Crummy said the two nations had been working together to get a series off the ground since the Trans-Tasman bubble was announced.

“It’s really pleasing to see the willingness from both countries to do what it takes to make this series happen so quickly and ensure our Tokyo-bound Vantage Black Sticks have world-class opposition as the Olympic countdown begins.

“Given the unfortunate 14-month hiatus in international hockey for both teams, this series will be vital as both a selection event and in our final preparations for Tokyo.”

Crummy said Palmerston North was chosen as the host city for the series because it offered flexibility if there was a change in Covid alert levels.

“The playing surface at Massey University is also the same as the one in Tokyo, and we’ve received phenomenal support from Hockey Manawatū and the wider community to pull this together in such a short timeframe.”

The matches will be the first internationals in Palmerston North since 2014 when the Black Sticks women played the USA.

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Matt Favier said the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos coaching staff and players are excited to have the series confirmed.

“We are really pleased that we have been able to collaborate with our Trans-Tasman neighbours and lock in these matches,” said Favier.

“Similarly to New Zealand, our athletes’ resilience and adaptability has been tested without any international competition since March last year, particularly in the lead up to an Olympics.

“This four-match series against quality opposition will be invaluable.”

The two nations are also working to confirm dates for their postponed FIH Pro League matches, with hopes of a two-match series to be played in Australia in late June.

The Black Sticks squads of 18 for the Tokyo Olympics will be named in the week after the Trans-Tasman series.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos Olympic squads are scheduled to be announced on 14 June.

The last time the Black Sticks Women played the Hockeyroos was in the Oceania Cup in Rockhampton in September 2019, where the Kiwis won the series to qualify for Tokyo.

At the same time the Kookaburras won the men’s Oceania Cup with two victories and a draw.

Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series

      • Thursday 27 May, Friday 28 May, Sunday 30 May and Tuesday 1 June
      • Massey University turf, Palmerston North
      • Match times: 5.30pm and 7.30pm on Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, 1pm and 3pm on Sunday.
      • Tickets available from Tuesday at www.blacksticksnz.co.nz
Posted on Thursday, 6 May, 2021 | FeatureVantage Black Sticks