Dragflick Newsdesk : Australia’s world number one ranked men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras will play their first internationals since last year’s Tokyo Olympics when they take on Malaysia in Perth.
The five-match series begins on Thursday 21 April before concluding on 28 April.
With the Kookaburras not competing in the current FIH Pro League (due to restrictions on international travel when the competition started), it will have been 258 days since the Kookaburras last took the field on the international stage and 298 days since they last played in Australia.
The series against Malaysia is crucial for the Kookaburras as they prepare to defend their Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham in July.
The Kookaburras recently played a host of intra-squad matches to emulate proper international fixtures.
While they had their benefits, Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch knows there is nothing like the real thing and says the players are itching to take on an international opponent.
“The players are competitive beasts by nature and they love competing, that’s why they make the commitment to train early in the morning every day and do what they do,” said Batch.
“It has been difficult not having any internationals this year so we are excited and grateful for the opportunity to welcome Malaysia here for this series.”
“The players have been working hard at training and we are progressing well as we continue to ramp up our preparations for the Commonwealth Games.”
Batch confirmed all four of the Kookaburras’ new additions – James Collins, Craig Marais, Ky Willott and goalkeeper Ben Rennie – will debut in the series.
Tim Brand, Tom Craig, Matt Dawson, Lachlan Sharp and Corey Weyer will miss the series as they are currently playing club hockey in Europe.
“There is fierce competition for spots in the team and the four debutants will also play in the series which is exciting,” said Batch.
“They will be eager to show they deserve to be in the conversation for selection as well, so the group can’t wait to get out there.”
“COVID has meant guys have missed playing a lot of international matches in the last two years. They relish any opportunity to represent their country, particularly in front of parochial home support, so it will be great to have a local Perth crowd out in full force.”
Malaysia’s men’s team currently sits 11th in the world rankings and will use this series as crucial preparation for the Asian Games in September, which doubles as Olympic qualifiers.
The Kookaburras have played Malaysia 85 times in their history. The last encounter was in September 2018 for an Invitational Event in Darwin. The Kookaburras won 5-2.
Tickets for the 5-match series are available now.
All five matches will be livestreamed on LIVEHockey. Match 1 will be free to watch on LIVEHockey with the remaining four matches requiring a subscription.
Kookaburras v Malaysia Series
Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
- Thursday 21 April (6:30pm local, 8:30pm AEST)
- Saturday 23 April (4:00pm local, 6:00pm AEST)
- Sunday 24 April (4:00pm local, 6:00pm AEST)
- Tuesday 26 April (6:30pm local, 8:30pm AEST)
- Thursday 28 April (6:30pm local, 8:30pm AEST)