AUSTRALIA’S match schedules for the preliminary rounds of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) have been announced at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre on Tuesday.
Sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Tuesday’s announcement saw the 10 competing nations for both men’s and women’s Hockey competitions divided into two pools of five based on their FIH World Rankings.
The world number two Kookaburras, who are aiming for their sixth consecutive gold medal, have been drawn in Pool A against New Zealand (eight), Canada (11), South Africa (15) and Scotland (23).
“It’s really exciting to know the nations we will be facing during the preliminary matches as we look to keep our Commonwealth Games’ gold medal run going,” Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles said.
“Naturally we are looking forward to rekindling our rivalry with neighbours New Zealand and we know the competition is going to be fierce throughout the preliminary rounds.
“I know everyone involved in Australian hockey is looking forward to the prospect of defending our gold medal in our own backyard.”
The world number four Hockeyroos, which includes Gerringong’s Grace Stewart, who are striving for their fourth straight gold medal, have been drawn in Pool B against New Zealand (five), Scotland (18), Canada (21) and Ghana (30).
“The Commonwealth Games feels a lot more real once you know your opponents and the excitement is really starting to build now it’s less than six months away,” Hockeyroos captain Emily Smith said.
“We’ve got genuine history with New Zealand, given our Rio Olympics defeat to them, so we’re excited to renew the rivalry with the Black Sticks in the preliminary rounds.
"I was lucky enough to be part of the gold-medal winning 2014 side which was amazing but there's something extra special about a home Commonwealth Games, so we cannot wait."
Each team will play every other team within their pool during the preliminary round matches from April 5-11.
The top two teams from each pool advance to the semi-final and medal matches from April 12-14.
The Kookaburras will begin their campaign on Saturday, April 7 against South Africa from 4.30pm local time.
The Hockeyroos’ campaign commences on Thursday, April 5 against Canada from 4.30pm local time.
Tickets are available via gc2018.com/tickets.
GC2018 men’s hockey competition pools
Pool A: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Scotland
Pool B: India, England, Malaysia, Pakistan, Wales
GC2018 women’s hockey competition pools
Pool A: England, India, South Africa, Malaysia, Wales
Pool B: Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Ghana