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Smith to make captain debut in tonight's Oceania Cup

12 October 2017

HOCKEY: Emily Smith says it couldn’t have worked out any better that she will run out as Hockeyroos captain for the first time in front of family and friends in her home state.

Smith was last month confirmed as the new Australia skipper, following Madonna Blyth’s retirement after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 25-year-old has 179 caps to her name and 68 international goals but will step out as skipper for the first time when Australia meets Papua New Guinea on Thursday at 6pm.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Smith said.

“Obviously the first time I run out as captain is going to be in front of my family and friends.

“It couldn’t work out any better so I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Hockeyroos arrived in Sydney on Monday, with the bulk of the squad having competed at the Australian Hockey League in Perth which concluded on Sunday.

Four players had to withdraw from the initial 18-member team due to injury in Karri McMahon, Jordyn Holzberger, Laura Barden and Edwina Bone.

Gabrielle Nance, Kristina Bates, Kate Hanna and Brooke Peris were all added to the team giving them opportunities to press their case with a view to next year’s Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

The Hockeyroos trained in Sydney on Tuesday morning and Wednesday ahead of their tournament opener.

“There’s a lot to learn. We’re a young team,” Smith said.

“We’ve had to make a few changes but it gives everyone an opportunity to show what they’re made of.

“I’m really looking forward to what we can learn and take from this going forward.”

Smith also said the fifth-ranked Hockeyroos were highly motivated to beat New Zealand (ranked sixth) after bowing out of the 2016 Rio Olympics at the hands of the Black Sticks.

“Obviously after the Rio Olympics they’ve got one up on us,” Smith said. “We’ve got to get them back for that.

“It’s really important for us going forward with our ranking points, we need to win this tournament to stay up with the top five and 10 nations in the world.”

There will be live Twitter updates for all Australia games @Hockeyroos and Saturday and Sunday's matches will be live streamed at Epicentre.tv.

Women's Fixtures:

Wednesday 11 October - Papua New Guinea v New Zealand, 6pm

Thursday 12 October - Australia v Papua New Guinea, 6pm

Saturday 14 October - New Zealand v Australia, 5pm

Sunday 15 October - Final, 3pm

Hockey Australia

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