Australia coach Colin Batch says the Kookaburras are looking forward to the new FIH Pro League which launches this month and says it’ll be revolutionary for Hockey.
The Pro League commences on Saturday 19 January when Spain hosts Belgium in Valencia, before Australia’s campaign gets underway in Melbourne against the Netherlands on Saturday 2 February.
The Kookaburras will be out for revenge against the third-ranked Dutch following their heartbreaking semi-final shootout defeat at last month’s World Cup.
The new FIH Pro League sees nine of the world’s best teams face off in the world’s first global home-and-away sporting league.
The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will play eight matches each in Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and Sydney in February and March, before overseas matches all over the globe in April-June, before the finals in the Netherlands in late June. All matches will be broadcast on FOX SPORTS in Australia.
The FIH Pro League has effectively replaced the Champions Trophy and World League as an entertainment product which will provide – for the first time ever – a regular calendar of must-see events played in packed stadia across the world and throughout the year.
“Pro League is going to be very demanding for everyone,” Batch said.
“It’s a new phase of the hockey life. There’s a lot of travelling involved with that.
“But we look forward to it. It’ll be a different way of experiencing hockey, as it’s a matter of travelling, playing a game and then moving on which is different to tournament play.
“It’s very different but very exciting. We want to do well with that. We see that as the major part of our first six months next year.”
The 2019 calendar year will also see the Kookaburras aim to secure 2020 Olympic qualification at the Oceania Cup which will take place in September in Rockhampton.
If Australia fail to win the Oceania Cup, there will be Olympic qualifiers in late October and early November.
The Kookaburras return to training on Monday 14 January following their end-of-season break.