Katrina Powell named new Hockeyroos coach

·2-min read

Katrina Powell has been announced as the new Hockeyroos coach, with the two-time Olympic gold medallist tasked with transforming a dysfunctional women's program into a world-beating powerhouse in time for the Tokyo Games.

The Hockeyroos have been mired in off-field dramas for years, the issue coming to a head in 2020 when allegations of bullying, body shaming and homophobic behaviour were aired by current and former players.

An independent review found that a dysfunctional culture existed within the elite women's set-up, leading to the resignation of coach Paul Gaudoin two weeks ago.

Hockey Australia's high performance manager Toni Cumpston fell on her sword in January.

Powell was announced as Gaudoin's successor on Tuesday and she has less than four months to mend gaping wounds within the women's set-up in the lead-up to the Olympics.

Her coaching contract is until the end of the Tokyo Games.

"The past months have been a challenging period for everyone associated with the Hockeyroos but we feel Katrina is the right person to get the best out of this group and continue in its Olympic preparations," Hockey Australia president Mel Woosnam said.

"We are confident of the positive impact she will have on the development and improvement of the squad in this short time ahead of and during the Games."

Powell, who is currently the coach of the NSW Institute of Sport's Women's Hockey Program, becomes the first female Hockeyroos head coach since Colleen Quinn in 1978.

She won Olympic gold medals as a player at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games among a career than spanned 252 games and included 141 goals.

Powell has been in various coaching roles since 2005, including being part of the Hockeyroos' coaching staff at the 2010 and 2018 Commonwealth Games, and coaching support staff during the Hockeyroos' 2008 and 2012 Olympic campaigns.

She was most recently a Hockeyroos assistant coach at the 2019 Oceania Cup.

"It is a really quick turnaround to the Olympics and I am well aware of that but I am so excited by the opportunity that is in front of me," Powell said.

"My objective is not to overhaul the hard work that has already been done.

"I am keen to bring in a fresh set of eyes, ideas and approach that will help this team be successful.

"My coaching style is one of athlete wellbeing but high expectation and discipline.

"We are going to work really hard with the athletes about building a purpose and having a strong way of play."

Powell's first big decision will be to decide whether to include 2019 goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch and former captain Georgina Morgan for the Olympics.

Lynch and Morgan were controversially left off the Hockeyroos' 2021 contract list by Gaudoin late last year, and the star duo have appealed that decision.