Injury blow for new Hockeyroos captain

24 Nov 2016

IT WAS a bittersweet couple of days for Hockeyroos new captain Jane Claxton with injury marring her side's success in last week's Trans-Tasman Trophy against New Zealand in New Zealand.

Celebrations flowed when both the men and women won their inaugural series against NZ on goal difference despite both teams losing on the final day. But a reported cracked knuckle on the middle finger of her left hand soured the overall win. The injury occurred in the final game for the Hockeyroos, ruling her out of this week's International Festival of Hockey series in Melbourne with a three-Test program against India.

Claxton, 24, and the only South Australian in the team, recently was appointed Hockeyroos captain - a selection she cherished but questioned whether she was good enough at this stage of her career.

"I still consider myself a junior with just over 100 caps and there have been players with 200, 300 caps like Madonna Blyth with so much experience,'' she said. "It was a bit of a surprise to be named captain but we have such a young side due to retirement and injury. I was excited when I first found out but I was really doubting what I could bring to the side. But people say that I bring something different to the side and to just be myself.''

Inspired by her father Bob, a big name in hockey circles for many years, Claxton said she had been lucky with injuries. She was sidelined for about six weeks in 2013 when she damaged an ankle. But she has been fortunate that the timing of that injury and the current one had no effect on missing any major tournaments with the season winding down until about February after the current week of matches.

This week Claxton expects to help her teammates on the sidelines with strategies and encouragement. She is disappointed that family and friends won't be able to see her lead the side for the first time on Australian turf since returning from the Rio Olympics where the team was beaten 4-2 in the quarter final by New Zealand.

This week's Test series for the Hockeyroos, third on world standings, will be played at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Melbourne. The three matches, all against India and 12th in world rankings, will be held on November 23 and 25 and 27.

Hockey - credit Grant Treeby
Photograph by Grant Treeby