Hockeyroos' moment of truth arriving

The Hockeyroos have one final chance to qualify for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
The Hockeyroos have one final chance to qualify for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Defender Karri McMahon has been named for her long-awaited international return as the Hockeyroos attempt to avoid the embarrassment of missing next year's Olympics.

The Australian women's hockey team failed to earn automatic qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Games after they lost to New Zealand on goal difference in the best-of-three Oceania Cup last month.

The result means the Hockeyroos must now beat Russia on aggregate in a two-match playoff in Perth on October 25 and 26.

The world No.2 Hockeyroos will start as the hottest of favourites against the 19th-ranked Russians.

But the Australians will be leaving nothing to chance, and the return of McMahon from a knee injury for her first international match of the year will boost the team's experience.

Striker Grace Stewart is another notable inclusion.

"Karri is a quality athlete and has shown to be a quality performer," coach Paul Gaudoin said of McMahon, who has 145 caps for her country.

"She has been training well in our environment here and has also been playing very well for the Adelaide Fire in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.

"There have been injuries to some of our other defenders, so an opportunity presents itself.

"Grace has shown a really good patch of form in recent months and has been handling the ball really well.

"We need to try and find ways to score more goals and she brings an energy to our attacking group."

If the Hockeyroos qualify, it will be their 10th Olympics in a row.

The Hockeyroos won the last of their three Olympic gold medals at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

Guadoin felt his team is in good shape to beat Russia.

"One of the things that happened when we came off a loss in the qualifying series against New Zealand was that it does incite a bit of fire within everyone to get the result we need," he said.

Hockeyroos squad: Edwina Bone, Lily Brazel, Emily Challker, Jane Claxton, Kalindi Commerford, Madison Fitzpatrick, Jodie Kenny, Amy Lawton, Rachael Lynch (GK), Rosie Malone, Karri McMahon, Kaitlin Nobbs, Brooke Peris, Grace Stewart, Renee Taylor, Sophie Taylor, Ashlee Wells (GK), Mariah Williams.

Australian Associated Press