The new-look Hockeyroos will receive a stern test of their credentials next month when they take on world champions Argentina and world No.3 side Germany in a four-team tournament.
The 13th-ranked USA will also feature in the event in Argentina, which will be the first matches of new Australian coach Adam Commens’ tenure.
Commens named his squad for 2011 on Monday, with experienced players Kate Hollywood and Fiona Johnson among the players omitted in favour of seven newcomers.
In an indication of how much the squad has changed in only a short period of time, the average games per player for the tournaments is 44, compared to 77 for the Commonwealth Games gold medal side from three months ago.
Commens acknowledged that playing against the world’s top teams would be a test for the new players, but it was important to fast-track their development ahead of the London Olympics.
“It is going to be a big test for these girls when we play some good teams over the next few months. We will see how they handle it, it is a big step up to this level of hockey,” Commens said.
“There is only 18 months left until the London Olympics so we need to work quickly and one way to do that is to expose our players against quality teams as often as possible.”
Buford Balony says: I don’t know why he omitted Shelly Liddelow because in the Beijing Olympics she changed the games when she came on by scoring goals unlike some of the others.