Selection quandary looms for Hockeyroos

The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras will end their 14-month stint in the international wilderness when they take on New Zealand in a four-match series this month.

Star Hockeyroos duo Rachael Lynch and Georgina Morgan will get a clearer picture of their Olympic Games hopes when the Australian women's hockey team returns to action later this month.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will end their 14-month drought of international games when they take on New Zealand in Palmerston North in a four-match series starting on May 27.

The matches will be the cornerstone for Olympic selection, and the biggest question mark hangs over the futures of Lynch and Morgan.

Lynch, the 2019 FIH goalkeeper of the year, and former captain Morgan were controversially left off the 2021 contract list despite still being widely rated as among the best players in the world.

Although the pair successfully appealed that decision, the new four-person selection panel - which includes former coach Ric Charlesworth - is still yet to decide their fate.

Lynch and Morgan have been training with the national squad, but it remains to be seen if they will be selected for the series against NZ.

If they are left out of that squad, their hopes of being selected for the Olympics would be dashed barring a series of late injuries to other players.

The elite women's hockey set-up has been in turmoil for years, with an independent review finding a dysfunctional culture existed.

Hockey Australia high performance manager Toni Cumpston quit in January after she lost support of the bulk of the player group and also the Hockey Australia board, while coach Paul Gaudoin fell on his sword in March immediately after the release of the independent report.

Players threatened to strike when Lynch and Morgan were left off the 2021 contract list, and the heat will be on the new selection panel if they overlook the star duo for the series against NZ.

After Gaudoin quit, two-time Olympic gold medallist Katrina Powell was appointed Hockeyroos coach until the end of the Tokyo Games.

The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras haven't played since their FIH Pro League matches on March 7, 2020 against Argentina.

Australia and NZ are working to confirm dates for their postponed 2021 FIH Pro League matches, with hopes of a two-match series to be played in Australia in late June.

The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos Olympic squads are scheduled to be announced on June 14.

"We are really pleased that we have been able to collaborate with our trans-Tasman neighbours and lock in these matches," Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier said of the upcoming four-match series.

"Similarly to New Zealand, our athletes' resilience and adaptability has been tested without any international competition since March last year, particularly in the lead-up to an Olympics.

"This four-match series against quality opposition will be invaluable."