Hockeyroos star Mariah Williams is celebrating her 24th birthday today, ahead of five key fixtures to close out the Pro League season. Image via Hockey Australia.

Mariah Williams’ crucial international tour with the Hockeyroos begins this Sunday, when the Novocastrian hockey star and the Australian women’s national team begins their final run of fixtures in the FIH Pro League.

First up in the run of five games in 21 days starts against world number 10 China in Changzhou, before the Hockeyroos return to the skies and soar to the European mainland for their final four fixtures.

Williams – who is celebrating her 24th birthday today – was named as one of 20 players in the extended Hockeyroos squad who will undertake the make-or-break journey for the squad. After eleven games so far in 2019, Australia sit in fourth place with a 7-4 record. One of their wins has come after an over-time shootout.

Williams is set to play a key role in the five-game run that will define the Hockeyroos’ 2019 season.

The Hockeyroos now sit behind the Netherlands, Argentina, and Belgium, the last of whom defeated Great Britain 4-1 to take control of third in the standings. Germany (fifth) sits behind Australia with a 4-5 record after nine matches.

After China, Australia will face Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands in a string of difficult fixtures that Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin has dubbed “tricky.”

“We’re playing some tough teams, they’re all quality sides and they’re a bit different to what we played in the Pacific leg,” Gaudoin said. “It’s a bit of a challenge to play against teams who are tighter in defence to score field goals but we’re looking forward to it.”

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Australia’s helsman also pinpointed Williams as a key impact player for the side, and said he expects her to slot straight back into the starting lineup after her injury.

“Mariah has also had a lay-off and she’ll be back into the side,” he said. “She’s starting to show some good form in training.”

Click this image to see a full-sized photo of the Hockeyroos’ five-game lineup.

The Hockeyroos’ run of five games in 21 days commences on Sunday (6pm AEST) when they face world number 10 China in Changzhou in the FIH Pro League.

Hockeyroos 20-player squad list: Jocelyn Bartram, Edwina Bone, Lily Brazel, Emily Chalker, Jane Claxton, Kalindi Commerford, Madison Fitzpatrick, Savannah Fitzpatrick, Rebecca Greiner, Jodie Kenny, Rachael Lynch, Ambrosia Malone, Georgina Morgan, Kaitlin Nobbs, Brooke Peris, Penny Squibb, Grace Stewart, Renee Taylor, Sophie Taylor, Mariah Williams.

FIH Pro League matches:

  • China v Hockeyroos – Sunday, June 2 at 6pm AEST
  • Great Britain v Hockeyroos – Monday June at 1am AEST
  • Germany v Hockeyroos – Sunday June 16 at 8pm AEST
  • Belgium v Hockeyroos – Thursday June 20 at 2:30am AEST
  • Netherlands v Hockeyroos – Sunday June 23 at 11pm AEST
  • Semi-Finals – Thursday June 27
  • Finals – Saturday June 29