Black Sticks men and women focused for Oceania Cup in Sydney
The Black Sticks men and women will start their Oceania Cup campaigns this week, with a Sydney tournament likely to be a training ground for next month's World League Final at home.
The continental championship runs through to Sunday, with both the New Zealand sides expected to make the finals.
The women will play on Wednesday against Papua New Guinea while the men will start their campaign on Thursday against arch rivals, the Kookaburras.
The Oceania Cup final is usually contested by New Zealand and Australia, but it also allows the developing nations of Oceania to pit their skills against the two top-10 ranked opponents.
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With both the Black Sticks and Australia already qualified for the 2018 men's and women's hockey world cups in Bhubaneswar (India) and London respectively, a place at those world cups will open up if either New Zealand or Australia win the Sydney tournament.
France (men) and Ireland (women) are the two teams anxiously waiting on the results from Sydney.
In the women's competition, Australia has the bragging rights as the Hockeyroos have won the event six times, but New Zealand have taken the trophy home three times and will be looking to build on a Hockey World League Semifinal campaign where they finished second, while Australia finished fifth.
The past two Oceania Cups have gone to shoot-out, with Australia taking the gold on both occasions.
AT A GLANCE
2017 Oceania Cup schedule (all in NZ times)
Wednesday, October 11
Women - 8:00pm, Black Sticks vs Papua New Guinea
Thursday, October 12
Men - 10:00pm, Black Sticks vs Kookaburras
Saturday, October 14
Men - 5:00pm, Black Sticks vs Papua New Guinea
Women - 7:00pm, Black Sticks vs Hockeyroos
Sunday, 15th October
Women - 5:00pm, Bronze Medal
Men - 7:30pm, Final