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Illawarra Mercury

Eastham honoured at Games selection

Date: 18/09/2010
Words: 340
Source: ILL
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Sport
Page: 77
ALBION Park junior Casey Eastham will be one of 11 players to make their Commonwealth Games debuts when the Hockeyroos defend their title in Delhi next month.

Eastham, last year's world junior player of the year, was almost assured of selection, but was still relieved to be named in the 16-strong squad.

"It's always an honour to be chosen for your country," she said.

"We've got a young team, but I feel like we can achieve a lot in India."

The Hockeyroos have a remarkable record at the Commonwealth Games, having lost just one match and claiming two of three gold medals on offer since 1998.

It's hard to believe Eastham turns 22 on the first day of the Commonwealth Games (October 3) given she has already achieved so much in her short career.

She represented Australia at the Olympic Games in 2008 and at the Champions Trophy for the past two years, and has more than 70 national matches to her credit.

The Hockeyroos finished fifth at the recent World Cup in Argentina and the Delhi Games loom as Eastham's best chance to win gold at a major tournament for the first time.

Nicole Arrold, Madonna Blyth, Kate Hollywood, Toni Cronk and Kobie McGurk are the only players in the squad who competed in the 2006 Games in Melbourne.

Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray will stand down after the Games. He said Australia were one of four teams capable of winning gold, along with England, New Zealand and India.

"India at home will be difficult and New Zealand are also very capable, while England have won bronze at the World Cup only days ago, making them a real threat," Murray said.

"We will be fighting it out with some very good teams.

"This is the most even Commonwealth Games competition we will be part of so we will need to play our best hockey."

Australia: Nicole Arrold, Madonna Blyth, Fiona Boyce, Alison Bruce, Toni Cronk, Casey Eastham, Kate Hollywood, Emily Hurtz, Kate Jenner, Fiona Johnson, Shelly Liddelow, Rachael Lynch, Kobie McGurk, Ashleigh Nelson, Megan Rivers, Jayde Taylor.

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