Fremaux happy to be back with the Black Sticks
Recalled Black Sticks' striker Sian Fremaux realises February's four nations tournament in the United States is a make or break one for her.
The Cantabrian missed selection for New Zealand's recent Oceania Cup and World League final tournaments, but has earned a call-up from national coach Mark Hager.
Fremaux and the fringe players in the Black Sticks' setup have it all to play for at the tournament as they look to make a favourable impression and boost their selection claims.
After the series in the United States, New Zealand will host a six nations tournament in Hawke's Bay in April, which will be the last chance to shine before June's World Cup. The Black Sticks won't have long to catch their breath after that with the Commonwealth Games a month later.
Fremaux acknowledged the US tournament was a pivotal one as she looked to try and establish herself.
"We only have a few tournaments [before] the World Cup and Commonwealth Games so all of these [games] will be crucial preparation for selection as well," she said.
"It's one of those years. There's so many prestigious tournaments, which is exciting. It definitely gives you a bit of motivation."
Fremaux is one of four Canterbury players in the New Zealand side for the US tour, with the others being young striker Sophie Cocks, goalkeeper Amelia Gibson and Olivia Merry.
The 21-year-old said it was frustrating not to feature at the Oceania Cup and World League final, but the time away from international hockey had allowed her to rest a niggly shoulder injury and get her tonsils removed.
She also sustained a broken nose during national hockey league finals week in August after being struck in the face by the ball.
"It's always disappointing not being selected for tours. Looking at the positives, I had time to get better and work on things, which was a good thing for me. It put me in a good mindset getting ready for next year."
Fremaux made her debut for the Black Sticks last December against India and she has made 21 appearances for the national team this year, scoring eight goals.
The biggest highlight for Fremaux came in June, when she competed at the World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam.
She had the chance to play against the reigning Olympic gold medallists, the Netherlands, for the first time, which was a wonderful experience.
Fremaux was also a member of the New Zealand under-21 side, which finished ninth at the Junior World Cup earlier this year.
"It's been pretty crazy. This time last year, I was debuting, which was exciting. Looking back at the year, it's been go, go, go.
"Starting out, I didn't know the ins and outs and was so nervous. A year on, it's been pretty awesome."
Fremaux and the Black Sticks will join up together as a squad late in January in preparation for the four nations tournament.
They will carry out individual running and gym work requirements during the festive period.
- © Fairfax NZ News