Grace Stewart plays role in Australia's string of hockey successes

WINNING SMILE: Gerringong's Grace Stewart celebrates her goal against China on Saturday. The goal was crucial in the team's 4-3 win. Photo: Grant Treeby/HA
WINNING SMILE: Gerringong's Grace Stewart celebrates her goal against China on Saturday. The goal was crucial in the team's 4-3 win. Photo: Grant Treeby/HA

The Hockeyroos, featuring Gerringong’s Grace Stewart, have continued their strong start to the FIH Pro League.

Stewart played well in the squad’s 3-1 shootout win over Germany after a nail-biting 2-all draw in front of more than 2,500 fans in Hobart on Sunday.

Rachael Lynch and Grace Stewart were among the best for Australia but it was Victorian newcomer Sophie Taylor who earned player of the match honours after scoring her first international goal.

Goals to Taylor and Stewart weren’t enough to secure a Hockeyroos victory in regular time as the Australians couldn’t find an answer for Germany’s Hanna Granitzki who scored twice off penalty corners. Eddie Bone, Brooke Peris and Mariah Williams were the goal scorers for Australia in the shootout while Germany’s only goal came through Nike Lorenz.

The win follows Saturday’s gritty victory over world number 10 China, where third-ranked Hockeyroos won 4-3.

The women were buoyed by the home-ground advantage.

“Playing in Hobart at home is fantastic,” Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said.

“Germany and China are both quality teams – we’ve played China recently at the Champions Trophy and they had some good results.”

On Saturday, goals to player of the match Mariah Williams, Rosie Malone, Grace Stewart and Savannah Fitzpatrick were enough to secure Australia’s second victory for the tournament, in front of an enthusiastic Hobart crowd.

“It’s fantastic to get the three points,” Gaudoin said.

“We had some really quality play on occasion and some poor play as well.

“We have to lift our consistency moving forward.”

The successive wins leave the Hockeyroos second in the FIH Pro League standings with two wins, one shootout win and a loss to their name.

“We’re pleased with the determination of the girls after playing on Saturday,” Gaudoin said.

“We wanted to play a little bit better but there’s lots to learn from that game.”

Next, the Hockeyroos host Great Britain in an FIH Pro League double-header on the weekend in Perth.

The nine-team competition will continue until the end of June.