Hockey Australia today announces the Kookaburras 18-member team for next month’s Champions Trophy to be played in Breda, the Netherlands, from 23 June to 1 July.
Australia will head for the final-ever Champions Trophy, to be replaced by the FIH Pro League, as defending champions having triumphed in London in 2016.
The Kookaburras have a remarkable record in the Champions Trophy as 14-time champions and have won six of the past seven editions.
World number one Australia will come up against hosts Netherlands (ranked fourth), Argentina (2016 Olympic gold medallists and ranked second), Belgium (ranked third), India (ranked sixth) and Pakistan (ranked 13th).
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “The Champions Trophy is a fantastic opportunity for us to play in a high-pressure tournament against some of the world’s best teams.
“We rarely get the chance to play against the top teams in Europe and it will provide great preparation for the World Cup later in the year.”
The National Selectors have made five changes from the team which won gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Uncapped pair Tim Brand and Johan Durst are both included for the first time.
Brand, who was coincidentally born in the Netherlands, is a forward from Ryde-Hunters Hill Hockey Club in Sydney.
Durst, who was added to the National Senior Men’s Squad following Tristan Clemons’ retirement earlier this month, is a goalkeeper from Hawthorn Hockey Club in Melbourne.
Defender Tim Howard is added while forward Blake Govers returns from a hand injury which forced him out of the Commonwealth Games.
Experienced defender Matthew Swann, who has 165 caps to his name, returns for the first time since December’s World League Final triumph following a sabbatical.
Mark Knowles (retirement), Andrew Charter, Matthew Dawson (both injury), Dylan Wotherspoon and Tom Wickham have made way from the Commonwealth Games team.
“It is an exciting time to have two debutants at a major tournament,” Batch said. “Both Tim and Johan deserve their opportunity.
“It’s great to see Blake back after the injury he sustained on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.
“Matthew’s return is also a significant boost, in light of Mark’s retirement, as he brings plenty of experience to our backline and team overall.”
Australia will play Germany in two lead-up Test matches in Moers on Saturday-Sunday 16-17 June ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Follow @Kookaburras on Twitter for updates throughout the Champions Trophy.
Kookaburras team for Champions Trophy:
Athlete (City, State)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Timothy Brand (Chatswood, NSW)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Johan Durst (Melbourne, VIC)
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Tim Howard (Wakerley, QLD)
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA)
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Lachlan Sharp (Lithgow, NSW)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)
Champions Trophy Match Schedule (all times AEST):
Sunday 24 June 2am – Australia vs Belgium
Monday 25 June 12am – Australia vs Pakistan
Wednesday 27 June 11pm – Australia vs India
Friday 29 June 3:30am – Australia vs Netherlands
Saturday 30 June 9:45pm – Australia vs Argentina
Sunday 1 July TBC – Finals