Sport

Hockeyroos stars win appeal over axing but Olympics selection no guarantee

The Olympic hopes of Hockeyroos stars Rachael Lynch and Georgina Morgan remain up in the air despite winning the appeal over their controversial axing from the 2021 squad.

Hockeyroos players threatened to strike after Lynch, the 2019 international goalkeeper of the year, and former captain Morgan were left off the 2021 contract list.

An independent appeals tribunal found due reason to oppose the duo’s non-selection after considering material provided by both parties. But, despite that finding, the pair will not earn an automatic recall.

Instead, it merely means both players are again eligible for selection, with Hockey Australia saying the timing of any further squad selections will be determined by the selection panel.

That has angered the playing group, who reportedly wanted Lynch and Morgan reinstated immediately.

The start of the Tokyo Olympics is just more than three months away, meaning Lynch and Morgan have little time to win back their spots and regain match fitness after months away from the squad.

The elite women’s hockey set-up has been in crisis for months, with an independent review finding a dysfunctional culture existed.

High-performance director Toni Cumpston quit in January and coach Paul Gaudoin resigned in March on the day the review was released.

New coach Katrina Powell is in a difficult position given her contract only runs until the end of the Tokyo Games. Powell is keen to continue in the role for the next Olympic cycle to Paris 2024.

The new selection panel now faces a big call on what to do about Lynch and Morgan, with public support heavily in favour of recalling the veterans.

Morgan was one of three co-captains who either stepped down or quit late last year in a move which highlighted worries within the Hockeyroos’ camp.