THE Strikers head to Canberra today for a mid-table clash but without captain Nan Latta.
The goal-scoring leader leaves this morning for the Netherlands as a co-captain of the Australian Masters team at the World Cup in Rotterdam.
It is Latta’s third time in the green-and-gold but the first as part of the leadership group.
The 39-year-old fears the greatest challenge could be jet-lag.
“We arrive on the Sunday and have four days of training and practice games before the pool games start,” she said.
“First up is the US and then we have England and Wales.
“We should be very competitive — this is the strongest squad I have been involved in.
“Previously, I’ve played for Australia in tri-series but this is a World Cup that only happens every four years.
“Our greatest challenge could be jet-lag — it’s not an issue for the European teams.”
Latta said her team role was very different as co-captain.
“I’ve partly got the job of team bonding in the lead-up to the tournament but, once we get there, the real work starts,” she said.
“I have responsibility for the attack, whereas the others in the leadership group are more defensive.”
The Strikers have lost at their last three outings after starting the season with dominant wins.
Today they play Australian National University, which has two wins and a draw from its four games.
Strikers coach Tony Jones said it would be a tough assignment in the first game without Latta.
“From what we have seen, they are a very solid outfit,” he said.
“It’s certainly going to be a tough match without our captain and main goal-scorer, particularly when we have been struggling in attack. The keepers are very strong in this competition and, to be honest, it’s a battle just to get in the circle.
“Either Maddison Horsburgh or Allison Nicholson will replace Nan.
“Maddi’s form has improved in the past month and she probably deserves first crack at it.”