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World Champions look to continue rich vein of form
  Media Information – During the FIH Hockey Pro League for all Media interviews with the Vantage Black Sticks Teams please contact through to Matthew Williams on 022 063 5705.   Media Availability Stacey Michelsen is available for interviews on Wednesday 29th Jan from 3:30-4 pm Blair Tarrant is available for interviews on Wednesday 29th Jan from 4-4:30 pm   We have the first game of the FIH Hockey Pro League happening this weekend. Please see below the link for the Media Kit and Accreditation for the Matches.    Accreditation Media Kit  
  Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Belgium, Saturday, February 1st at 5 pm – National Hockey Centre, Albany   The 2020 season looks set to be an epic one for international field hockey, season two of the FIH Hockey Pro League gets underway this weekend for the Vantage Black Sticks Men and Women as they look to build-up ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The second season of the FIH Hockey Pro League sees a change in the formula with teams playing half the teams at home and the other half of the sides overseas. New Zealand will host Belgium, Great Britain, Argentina, USA Women and Spain, each of these sides will play two matches in New Zealand.

Graham Shaw enters his first full Pro League campaign with the Black Sticks Women and has named what looks to be a formidable side. Veteran strikers Kayla Whitelock and Gemma McCaw have been named in the side for their first international matches in 3 years; they will add a wealth of skill and experience to a team that has a great balance of youth and players with significant international experience.

Midfielder Sam Charlton said, “One of the key focuses for the team this year is going to be consistency, we can play a game that goes well, it is going to be important that we back that up every game this year”.

Defender Megan Hull said “Being able to expose young players in our community to top international teams is important as we look to grow our sport”.

The Belgium team will enter the contest with plenty of confidence after they held the world number two Hockeyroos to draws in both their matches this past weekend. Look for the Belgians to play with plenty of determination and hustle as they look to stifle the New Zealand attack.   Team List Georgia Barnett
Brooke Roberts
Megan Hull
Fran Davies
Julia King
Brooke Neal
Katie Doar
Tayla White
Tarryn Davey
Sam Charlton
Holly Pearson
Stacey Michelsen
Rose Keddell
Rachel McCann
Gemma McCaw
Olivia Shannon
Olivia Merry
Kayla Whitelock  
  Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Belgium, Saturday, February 1st at 7:30 pm – National Hockey Centre, Albany
  The Vantage Black Sticks Men have named an impressive side for their battle with the world number team Belgium. Having just beaten Australia in their doubleheader over the weekend to retain the number one ranking, the world champions will be looking to continue their impressive start to the 2020 season.

Darren Smith has been able to recall to outstanding double centurions for the first Pro League match of the 2020 season as Steve Edwards and Simon Child will see their first action in the new format when they line up on the pitch at the impressive new National Hockey Centre in Auckland.

Black Sticks Striker Hugo Inglis commented ahead of the season “It’s a pinnacle year for us, and the side is building nicely towards that. We are hopeful of putting on some strong performances in front of our home crowd”.

Belgium are the world champions for a reason and have weapons all over the field. They will be looking for their outstanding goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch to set the tone early on in the contest as he has his defenders in great positions and they work outstandingly well together as a defensive unit.

On the New Zealand side of the field look out for veteran striker Simon Child who is within touching distance of the all-time leading goalscoring mark of 150 for the Black Sticks Men, Child currently sits eight goals back of the target set by Phil Burrows. Don’t be surprised to see Child if given space in the circle slot one into the back of the net on Saturday evening.   Team List Leon Hayward
Richard Joyce
Shea McAleese
Blair Tarrant
Cory Bennett
Kane Russell
Dane Lett
Arun Panchia
Nic Woods
Nick Ross
Aidan Sarikaya
Steve Edwards
Marcus Child
Jared Panchia
Simon Child
George Muir
Stephen Jenness
Sam Lane
Jacob Smith   *Two to be omitted  


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