Shock omissions from Hockeyroos 2021 squad

Australia's 2016 Olympics 'keeper Rachael Lynch has been dropped from the Hockeyroos squad for 2021.
Australia's 2016 Olympics 'keeper Rachael Lynch has been dropped from the Hockeyroos squad for 2021.

The Hockeyroos have been mired in more controversy after former captain Georgina Morgan and International Hockey Federation (FIH) goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch were surprisingly axed from the national squad for Olympic year 2021.

Hockey Australia recently launched an independent inquiry into its national women's program after allegations surfaced of a toxic culture that included elements of bullying and disorganisation.

The inquiry was launched after months of player discontent that eventually made its way into the public sphere through the media.

Some players have openly voiced their concerns about management issues, while others have been too scared to speak up for fear of reprisals.

Alarm bells were ringing recently when the Hockeyroos lost all three of their captains within weeks of each other - Jodie Kenny through retirement, and Morgan and Emily Chalker by stepping down.

Morgan has faced injury battles in recent years but her experience and class were expected to be enough to see the 27-year-old retained in the squad for 2021 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in July.

However, her name was absent when the Hockeyroos' 25-player squad was announced on Wednesday.

Even more glaring was the omission of 34-year-old Lynch, who in February was named the FIH 2019 goalkeeper of the year.

Lynch has amassed 223 appearances over 14 years on the international stage.

She has been replaced in the squad by Aleisha Power, who played three games for the Hockeyroos in 2017.

Striker Courtney Schonell, and defenders Meg Pearce and Penny Squibb were the other additions to the squad, while defender Karri McMahon retired earlier this week due to a chronic knee injury.

"Today's announcement comes with mixed emotions for many - that is the nature of high performance sport," Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said.

"Selection is always difficult and even more so this year. I empathise with the athletes who have missed out but the selection panel has chosen a squad that it believes gives the Hockeyroos the best chance of success not just in 2021 but over the next Olympic cycle."

Gaudoin said the wellbeing of the players remains a top priority for the organisation.

"That's always going to be the case. We want to make sure we're looking after them," Gaudoin said.

"We've had a clinical psychologist in our program since I took over in 2017.

"We've got an athlete wellbeing and engagement staff member ... we've got a lot of people and a lot of structures in place to help support the mental health and wellbeing of the athlete."

The selection panel has the option of adding two more players to the squad early next year.

Hockeyroos squad: Laura Barden, Jocelyn Bartram (gk), Edwina Bone, Emily Chalker, Jane Claxton, Kalindi Commerford, Madison Fitzpatrick, Greta Hayes, Kate Jenner, Stephanie Kershaw, Amy Lawton, Rosie Malone, Kaitlin Nobbs, Meg Pearce, Brooke Peris, Aleisha Power (gk), Courtney Schonell, Karri Somerville, Penny Squibb, Grace Stewart, Renee Taylor, Sophie Taylor, Ashlee Wells (gk), Mariah Williams, Georgia Wilson.

Australian Associated Press