First cap could be on home turf

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 23/11/2012
hockey
MURRAY WILSON
Michaela Curtis in her Women's Central League days.

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Michaela Curtis could well make her debut for the Black Sticks on home turf in Palmerston North, but she just wants to get out there.

Curtis was yesterday named in the 2013 national squad and the squad for the six-test series against India, which is spread between Napier, Palmerston North and Wellington, next month.

Even though the Levin woman was at the national trials last month, she was excited when she got the news.

"I had no idea, I just did the best I could," said the striker.

"I didn't want to come away from it and wish I could have done better."

Coach Mark Hager and the rest of the staff haven't discussed with her how much game time she could expect, but she will take what she can get.

"I'm not really bothered, I just want to play."

The first two tests of the series are in Napier and while the debutants are likely to get a run, it would be a perfect start for Curtis to run out on the twin turfs in Palmerston North.

The 19-year-old has been working on her fitness and felt she had been playing better because of the extra work she had been doing, so she should be fine if she gets a chance in a test match.

"I've played in the junior Black Sticks team and gone all right. I guess it's another level up. I think I'll go all right, hopefully."

Curtis isn't the only Manawatu player in the squad, with Palmerston North goalkeeper Georgia Barnett joining the side to play India after the first two tests following the departure of Sally Rutherford.

Barnett, 18, was named in the national development squad instead of the national squad but will be the second goalie after Rutherford leaves, so she could potentially play on home turf if the coaches are feeling generous.

Manawatu's Emily Naylor and Kayla Sharland are in the national squad but are likely to continue their extended break until early next year. So too are Krystal Forgesson and Bianca Russell.

There are eight new players in the national squad with Curtis: Sian Fremaux, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts and Jenny Storey.

It also includes 11 of the 16 players who went to the Olympics but Samantha Harrison has been left out and is in the development squad.

Palmerston North's two tests are on December 11 and 12.

Black Sticks squad to play India:

Sam Charlton (Midlands), Michaela Curtis (Central), Gemma Flynn (Midlands), Sian Fremaux (Canterbury), Amelia Gibson (Canterbury), Katie Glynn (Auckland), Ella Gunson (Northland), Charlotte Harrison (Northland), Pippa Hayward (Canterbury), Rose Keddell (Auckland), Julia King (Auckland), Olivia Merry (Canterbury), Stacey Michelsen (Northland), Anita Punt (Capital), Cassandra Reid (Canterbury), Aniwaka Roberts (Capital), Sally Rutherford (Midlands), Jenny Storey (Canterbury), Petrea Webster (North Harbour), Georgia Barnett (Central).

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- Manawatu Standard

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