The Blacks Sticks women have had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Australia in the opening game of their trans-Tasman series in Palmerston North on Thursday night.
After a disjointed performance from the Kiwis, local Olivia Shannon fired home in the final quarter to salvage a draw for the hosts.
The Black Sticks were clearly still shaking off the rust of a 15-month test hockey, as they struggled to convert a multitude of opportunities into goals, including six penalty corner chances.
Despite dominating territory and possession through the opening half, the visitors took the lead courtesy midway through the second quarter courtesy of Rosie Malone, heading into the halftime break with a 1-0 advantage.
Shannon's deft flick between her legs late in the game then ensured the Black Sticks women avoided the same fate as their male counterparts, who had earlier fallen to a 3-1 loss to the Aussie men.
The series against the Australians is the final opportunity for players on the fringes to earn selection for the Tokyo Olympics, where veteran Kayla Harrison - playing her 257th test on Thursday - will join an elite group of Kiwi athletes to have attended five Games.
The next test in the series takes place on Friday night.