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Casey Crowley, in blue, in the United States.
The name Crowley is synonymous with Taranaki rugby, but it now becomes a common name in another code.
Cousins Anna and Casey Crowley have been selected to a 25-person Blacksticks women’s hockey team after a week-long selection camp in Auckland to prepare for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games this year. They are two of the four Taranaki players selected.
Anna, daughter of former Taranaki full-back Alan, was selected again, but Casey, the daughter of former Taranaki full-back and Italy coach Kieran, got her first call-up.
Speaking on The Most FM Sports Show on Saturday morning, Anna said it was a proud family moment.
“It will be pretty cool if Casey and I can debut on the same game, it will be really special for us,” said the 22-year-old defender.
Casey, 25, mostly played hockey for the University of Maine in Canada until she graduated in 2019.
During her four-year career for the Black Bears, she was the American East Midfielder of the Year, had 30 goals and 29 assists for a total of 89 points during her college career abroad. She has since returned to New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Anna will have a lot to play for after missing out on the Olympic team. But the rookie knew it was a development year and there is a different motivation for this season.
“This year, I want to be able to make my mark and make my debut. But what will be will be.
With Stacey Michelsen and Ella Gunson retiring, there’s a new generation of young players coming in, so Anna fits into that category and relishes the opportunity.
“It’s pretty cool to come in and be the underdog. The world is probably like ‘this team is brand new’, it’s always exciting to be able to show what we have to offer.”
Preparation for the World Cup will include north-south matches, trans-Tasman series against Australia here or across the gap and intense training.
The grueling weekly schedule includes matches against men’s teams.
“That’s what we need,” Anna said.
“Their ball speed and presence on the ball are incredible. Facing the Netherlands and Argentina, they are fast women, so it’s a very good preparation.
Twenty players will be selected for the World Cup squad, but it will be reduced to 18 for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Anna has no indication if she will make the cut.
“We’ll know closer to the time.”
Hope Ralph and Holly Pearson of Taranaki were also selected to the team.
Pearson has already picked up 27 caps for New Zealand and Ralph will be looking to add to his 19 international caps.
- Story brought to you by Sports News Taranaki