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Experienced Core for Commonwealth Women's Hockey

MEDIA RELEASE

20 FEBRUARY 2006

Experienced Backbone Named for Commonwealth Games Women’s Hockey Team

A balance of promising young talent backed by an experienced core of seven players from the 2004 Olympic Games team has today been named in the women’s hockey team to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next month.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) in conjunction with Hockey New Zealand have confirmed a team of 16 players for the Melbourne Games beginning on March 15.

For two players, Canterbury defender Di Weavers and Wellington midfielder Suzie Muirhead, Melbourne will be a third Commonwealth Games. Both players also competed at the 2002 Manchester Games and the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games. Three players - Muirhead, Weavers and Michelle Hollands (nee Turner) were members of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games teams.

Captain Suzie Muirhead leads the way as the most experienced player with 225 caps, vice captain Di Weavers has 162, Michelle Hollands is not far behind on 86. She returned to the side after a four year break last year, during which time she had a baby.

A second layer of players, while only into their 20s, have played over 50 caps. They are striker Kayla Sharland, defender Emily Naylor and midfielder Stacey Carr.

A third group who were introduced to the team in 2005, a year which saw a broadening of the Black Sticks squad, have earned selection through sustained effort.

The players are Charlotte Harrison, a 16-year-old striker with six caps; Clarissa Eshuis, a 19-year-old defender with 15 caps; Kate Mahon, 22 with 8 caps; Jane Maley, 25, with 18 caps; Krystal Forgesson, 23, with 11 caps; and Frances Kreft, 20, with 25 caps.

Black Sticks Coach Ian Rutledge described the team as one of the most exciting he had named in the last three years, since he had taken over as National Coach.

“The players selected can deliver our game plan. We have quality in defence, playmakers in the midfield and potential goal scorers up front,” he said. “With our core group of experienced players behind them I believe this team can take the game to the next level.”

New Zealand Olympic Committee Board Member and member of the selection panel, Mike Stanley says there is a nice mix with this team.

“The women’s hockey team have produced some of the more dramatic moments from recent Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. We are looking forward to this team producing another performance we can be proud of.”

“The New Zealand Olympic Committee has been working hard to ensure the players have an environment in the athletes village that will allow them to perform to the best of their ability,” Stanley said.


The New Zealand Commonwealth Games Women’s Hockey team is:

# Player Name NHL Team Age Caps Position

1 Kayla Sharland Central 20 66 Midfield
2 Emily Naylor Central 20 51 Defender
3 Krystal Forgesson Auckland 23 11 Striker
9 Honor Dillon Canterbury 23 27 Striker
10 Lizzy Igasan North Harbour 23 82 Defender
11 Stacey Carr Canterbury 21 56 Striker
14 Suzie Muirhead Wellington 30 225 Midfielder
15 Beth Jurgeleit Wellington 25 28 Goalkeeper
16 Clarissa Eshuis Canterbury 19 15 Defender
18 Diana Weavers Midlands 30 162 Defender
19 Jane Maley Canterbury 25 18 Midfielder
20 Frances Kreft Auckland 20 25 Midfielder
25 Kate Mahon North Harbour 22 8 Defender
26 Anita Wawatai Manawatu 25 20 Goalkeeper
28 Charlotte Harrison Northland 16 6 Striker
29 Michelle Hollands Canterbury 31 88 Midfielder

Coach: Ian Rutledge
Assistant Coach: Sue McLeish
Manager: Kay Noakes
Physiotherapist: Mary Dunning
Video Analyst: Paul Derham


ENDS

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