THE Black Stick are no strangers to the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC), having competed regularly since 2011.
New Zealand are also among the teams in Johor that are bound for the Junior World Cup in Lucknow, India from Dec 8-18, but have listed only part of their squad for the coming tournament at Taman Daya Stadium next month.
Although the likes of David Brydon, Dominic Newman, Hayden Phillips and Nicholas Woods are absent, Bryce Collins charges still look strong with the presence of 12 players set for the world meet.
The SOJC is New Zealand's last preparation before heading to India.
The presence of forwards Sam La mine, Jonty Keaney dan Thomas Dylan, midfielders Alex Hanham, Aiden Sarikaya, defenders Breadly Read, Hugh Hendrickson dan Johny Thorn, in addition to goalkeeper Dominic Dizon, makes New Zealand among the contenders for the SOJC this time around.
The coming edition is the perfect warm-up for New Zealand following the participation of teams such Australia, Pakistan, England dan Jepun - teams also competing in the Junior World Cup next month.
The Black Sticks have competed three times in the SOJC, the inaugural edition in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
New Zealand finished last in 2011, before improving by one place in the 2012 edition. In 2014, New Zealand came fourth, giving rise to hope of another improvement.
New Zealand open their campaign against Pakistan on Monday on October 31 followed with matches against Japan and Pakistan before a one day break.
Collins' men play England on November 4 before a showdown with Malaysia the next day. The final classification matches takes place on Nov 6.