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Hockeyroos pre-Olympic squad announcement
09 Apr 2008 08:10

Former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Wendy Beattie has come out of retirement in a bid to fulfill her Olympic dream and has been included in the Hockeyroos pre-Olympic squad.

Beattie, who retired from international hockey in 2006, is the only inclusion to the pre-Olympic squad. None of the current Hockeyroos players have been replaced by Beattie, resulting in a 25 player squad.

Beattie's return to the Hockeyroos came after a phone call to coach Frank Murray and could result in a fairytale ending for Beattie, who was one of the last players to miss out on representing Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"Wendy called me and told me she wanted to have another go and asked if I thought there was a spot for her. I told her we would look at her and she would get picked if we thought she was good enough." Said Murray.

After competing in a number of marathons since her retirement, Beattie said she was confident she still had the fitness to compete at an elite level and was encouraged by Murray's positivity during her enquiry about a possible return.

"Frank was very positive but made it clear that I would have to prove myself. While I was happy with my fitness level there was no doubt I was a little rusty with my stick work so I just worked on that as much as I could. I increased my training in late November 2007 in preparation for representing Queensland in the Australian Hockey League, as I knew that was my opportunity to impress prior to the squad selection." Said Beattie.

While taking a no pressure attitude into her performances at the AHL, it was her training with fellow Hockeyroo Queenslanders Angie Lambert and Melanie Wells that inspired her to return to the international stage.

"I originally retired because I felt like I had had enough. I wanted to try a few new things and focus on work. But I started training with some of the Queensland based Hockeyroos players such as Angie Lambert and Melanie Wells prior to their departure to Perth to relocate for the Olympic training program and I just felt motivated and wanted to give it another go."

Described by coach Frank Murray as a 'workhorse', her versatility as a striker or midfielder will lift the competition for the final 16 spots in the Olympic squad, due to be announced following the teams Champions Trophy campaign in Germany from May 17-25.

Murray says he was reluctant to drop any current squad members to make way for Beattie's inclusion as the players had done everything asked for them to date. However, he claims the squad still has a lot of work to do over the coming months.

"The current players in the squad have done the work and they all deserved to keep their spots. But in saying that, we still have a lot of work in front of us and need to get better if we are to win a gold medal in Beijing." Said Murray.

Nicole Arrold, Teneal Attard, Wendy Beattie, Madonna Blyth, Toni Cronk, Casey Eastham, Suzie Faulkner, Emily Halliday, Kate Hollywood, Nikki Hudson, Rachel Imison, Fiona Johnson, Angie Lambert, Shelley Liddelow, Rachael Lynch, Kobie McGurk, Hope Munro, Ashleigh Nelson, Megan Rivers, Rebecca Sanders, Emma Stewart, Renee Trost, Kim Walker, Melanie Wells, Sarah Young.

Source: Hockey Australia

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