Hockeyroos players consider strike action

The Hockeyroos are in turmoil with their preparations for the rescheduled Olympics in question.
The Hockeyroos are in turmoil with their preparations for the rescheduled Olympics in question.

The Australian women's hockey team is in disarray less than eight months out from the Olympics, with Hockeyroos players considering strike action to vent their anger at team management.

The Australian hockey community went into a spin on Wednesday when star goalkeeper Rachael Lynch and former captain Georgina Morgan were dumped from the 2021 squad.

Lynch was announced as the 2019 International Hockey Federation goalkeeper of the year in February, while 27-year-old Morgan is one of the team's best defenders and had only recently stepped down as captain.

Player discontent has been at boiling point for months now, with much of the anger directed at high performance director Toni Cumpston.

Coach Paul Gaudoin has also been criticised for missing several meetings with players.

Allegations of a toxic culture that included elements of bullying have been levelled at the elite women's program and Hockey Australia recently launched an independent inquiry.

The axing of Lynch and Morgan has emboldened the players to take matters into their own hands.

It's understood about half the players are so furious that they are even considering going on strike.

There's even talk lawyers could become involved.

The Hockeyroos have the capacity to add two more players to the 25-strong squad announced on Wednesday.

However, even if Lynch and Morgan are reinstated, the frayed relationship between the playing group and Hockey Australia management appears irreparable.

The Hockeyroos were once the golden child of Australian Olympic sport but they have been mired in controversy for years now.

Two-time Olympian Nicole Arrold, who spent a brief period as an assistant under Gaudoin, said a decade of poor culture within the set-up had hurt the Hockeyroos.

Arrold said bullying allegations had been handled poorly in the past, and that Gaudoin's leadership had been chaotic and disorganised with a lack of clear direction.

Former Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens was sacked after the Rio Games for serious misconduct.

Hockey Australia launched an inquiry after those 2016 Games to investigate rumblings of player discontent.

Four years on and the situation is at breaking point.

Australian Associated Press