Newcastle academy graduate Mariah Williams was unstoppable as she struck twice against Russia to secure the Hockeyroos their 11th-straight appearance at the Olympic Games, where they will gun for gold in Tokyo in 2020.
The 24-year-old scored a brace in the 5-0 demolition job, after the Aussies had already chalked a 4-2 lead on aggregate earlier in the weekend. Sophie Taylor, Grace Stewart, and Emily Chalker added to the landslide to tick up the 9-2 overall win.
Williams scored her first in the 22nd minute as she slotted home a well-worked passing play, before she added the icing to the smash-job after an onslaught down the right-wing broke down the Russians ahead of the final whistle.
“I feel really happy for the girls,” head coach Paul Gaudoin said in the statement after the win. “They worked really hard and it has been a massive year.”
“We didn’t quite get there against New Zealand, but now we can focus our preparations on Tokyo. It was pleasing that we managed to finish off with some quality goals in the first half but our ball handling needs to get better as well as our fitness.”
Most Hockeyroos stars now return to their Hockey One teams for the final weekend of play in the national competition. Williams will return to star for the NSW Pride in their final match, as they look to battle their way into playoff contention.