More selection drama as Hockeyroo appeals Olympics snub

Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch is among the 16-player Hockeyroos squad named for Tokyo Olympic Games.

Goalkeeper Rachael Lynch is among the 16-player Hockeyroos squad named for Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: AAP

The Hockeyroos are facing yet another selection drama after a mystery player appealed their non-selection for the Tokyo Olympics.

The selection of star goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, who just months earlier had been dumped from the contract list, was one of the big talking points when the 16-women Olympic squad was unveiled on Monday.

But the biggest shock was that the squad may not actually be set in stone after a player decided to appeal against their non-selection.

The identity of that player remains confidential. If she chooses to push ahead with the appeal after receiving feedback as to why she wasn’t selected, then the matter will head to an appeals tribunal.

The drama is an unwanted distraction for the Hockeyroos, who have already endured months of controversies.

Late last year, Hockeyroos players threatened to strike when Lynch and former captain Georgina Morgan were surprisingly axed from the 2021 contract list by then-coach Paul Gaudoin.

The duo successfully appealed the decision, but the writing was on the wall for Morgan when she missed selection for the recent four-Test series in New Zealand.

It meant Morgan was always going to miss the squad for Tokyo, but 34-year-old Lynch, the 2019 FIH goalkeeper of the year, performed well enough to earn selection for her second Olympics.

“One of the athletes is appealing their non nomination, which just goes to show how difficult it was to pick this team,” Hockeyroos coach Katrina Powell said.

“There were 27 players in the squad, we used 26 of them in (the recent series in) NZ, and all performed well.

“It’s the right of the athlete to appeal, we’re respecting that, and then we’ll go through the process.”

Lynch was left stunned last year when she was informed she wouldn’t be offered a contract for 2021.

But she used the setback to work her way into career-best shape while her legal team fought for her re-inclusion.

“It’s certainly made today a little bit more special for me. It’s been a wild ride,” Lynch said.

“To be removed from the team was pretty disappointing. I worked really hard. I was working full-time doing COVID testing during that time, so it was big days.

“But every morning I got myself out of bed and got to a point where I was fitter than I’ve ever been. I’m proud of myself that I came back fitter and leaner, and I’m ready to go.”

Lynch said she felt for Morgan, whose non-selection still baffles hockey fans given she’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

“It was really hard. We both went through a pretty tough time,” Lynch said.

“But she’s got a bright future ahead. She’s one of the best defenders in the world, and I look forward to watching her play for many years.”

The Hockeyroos are ranked fourth in the world and they face a monumental task to earn a medal in Tokyo after the most tumultuous period in their history.

Past and present players last year aired allegations against the team hierarchy of bullying, homophobic behaviour and body shaming, with a subsequent independent inquiry finding a dysfunctional culture existed within the elite women’s hockey set-up.

Hockey Australia high-performance manager Toni Cumpston quit two months before that report was handed down, while Hockeyroos coach Gaudoin stood down on the eve of its release.

The Tokyo squad features eight Olympic debutants, including 19-year-old Amy Lawton, who will become the fourth youngest Hockeyroos player to compete at an Olympics.

Stephanie Kershaw, 26, was named for her Olympic debut after injury ruled her out of contention for Rio.

Emily Chalker will compete at her third Games, with seven other players to compete at their second Olympics.


Edwina Bone, Emily Chalker, Jane Claxton, Savannah Fitzpatrick, Kate Jenner, Stephanie Kershaw, Amy Lawton, Rachael Lynch, Rosie Malone, Kaitlin Nobbs, Brooke Peris, Karri Somerville, Penny Squibb, Grace Stewart, Renee Taylor, Mariah Williams


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