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HNZ-MEDIA RELEASE: Vantage Black Sticks fine tuning for Tokyo

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  Hockey New Zealand   Vantage Black Sticks fine tuning for Tokyo   22 June 2021
The Vantage Black Sticks have headed to Perth for their final hit-outs before the Tokyo Olympics.

The Black Sticks Men and Women will face the Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos in two FIH Pro League matches on Saturday and Sunday.

The two doubleheaders are the postponed FIH Pro League matches between the two nations that were originally scheduled to be played around Anzac Day this year.

The Black Sticks have selected squads of 20 for the Perth matches, with four players added to the Tokyo Olympic squads of 16 named recently.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Head Coach Darren Smith said the team would be without Waikato defender Nic Woods and Wellington striker Jacob Smith in Perth as they both have minor injuries. They have been replaced by Aidan Sarikaya and Sam Hiha.

Smith said there were a couple of areas they were looking to improve on after losing all four matches to Australia in the recent Sentinel Homes Trans-Tasman series.

“I want us to react better when under pressure and also to control possession for longer periods. Australia were much better at holding on to the ball.”

Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Head Coach Graham Shaw said the weekend’s games were all about getting the small details right.

“We’ve just got to make sure we’re accurate with everything we do. We performed well at times but we’ve got to minimise those poorer moments.”

Nelson’s Kelsey Smith will play her 100th match for her country on Saturday.

“It is a fantastic milestone for Kelsey especially after the difficult time she’s had coming back from an ACL injury,” said Shaw.

“In the last few months we’ve started to see the attacking threat she can be.”

The Black Sticks teams warm up for the Pro League matches with games against the Perth Thundersticks. All four Pro League matches will be broadcast live on Spark Sport.

FIH Pro League – Australia v New Zealand
Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University

Saturday 26 June
Kookaburras v Vantage Black Sticks Men 12.30pm local time (4.30pm NZT)
Hockeyroos v Vantage Black Sticks Women 3pm local time (7pm NZT)

Sunday 27 June
Kookaburras v Vantage Black Sticks Men 12.30pm local time (4.30pm NZT)
Hockeyroos v Vantage Black Sticks Women 3pm local time (7pm NZT)   To view the Vantage Black Sticks women’s squad, click here.   To view the Vantage Black Sticks men’s squad, click here   Ends   Note to editors: If media wish to speak to players or coaches after the matches, please contact the team managers directly.

Men – Kevin Marr 027 454 1059
Women – Dee Leggat 021 278 1193
For more information, contact:
Joanne Perry
Hockey New Zealand
021 382 306
[email protected]
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