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Hockeyroos downed by China in final-quarter thriller

The Hockeyroos have suffered a hiccup on the road to the Olympics with a 3-2 defeat to China putting the visitors on pole to lift the Perth Cup on Australian soil.

The Paris-bound hockey women will now need a major favour from either their national team understudies, Australia A, or from Japan if they're to win the trophy at the Perth International Festival this weekend.

Earlier, Australia A had demonstrated with their 2-1 win over Japan that they're perfectly capable of springing another shock against China.

But in Wednesday's top-of-the-table main event, China beat the Hockeyroos with a resilient showing, coming back from 2-1 down to produce a victory with two goals in the final quarter.

The Roos had the better of the first 15 minutes but still went behind to a deflected China penalty corner goal from Chen Yi.

Rosie Malone equalised at the start of the second quarter with a neat touch to convert Steph Kershaw's slick pass, and within two minutes, the Hockeyroos had gone ahead through Maddy Brooks.

China, cranking up the pressure, finally broke through at the start of the fourth quarter, Chen Yang equalising before Zou Meirong, with just two minutes left on the clock, sealed the comeback win with a finely placed penalty corner.

One boon for the Australians was the return of Aleisha Power, playing her first international since June last year following injury.

"It feels amazing. I think when you've been in a bit of a grind, I guess for eight to nine months, all you're doing is rehab and trying to get back to training," Power explained.

"Just stepping out in the field with the girls is the best feeling, I guess, in the world."

Next up on Saturday, Hockeyroos will play Australia A, while Japan will play China in the later feature match.