🇦🇺 Hockey Australia : Coach Colin Batch names 23 players for 2022 Australian Men’s Hockey High Performance program
Photo Credit : Hockey Australia

Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch has named an initial squad of 23 athletes to be part of the Australian Men’s Hockey High Performance program in 2022.

The selected athletes were all members of the 2021 Kookaburras squad but Batch has left four spots available which will be filled with new additions early next year.

Batch, the Kookaburras coaching staff and selection panel have had restricted opportunities to monitor the development of potential candidates for the Kookaburras squad over the past 12 months due to COVID.

The pandemic caused further postponement of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League, restricted matches played in local leagues and prevented the Australian Under 21 Championships from going ahead for the second successive year. These are all events that would have been used to gauge players’ progress.

With the Kookaburras’ next major tournament being the 2022 Commonwealth Games in July, Batch will use selection camps early next year to determine which players will fill the vacant four spots.

“Post an Olympics there is always a thorough assessment of our national squad and where we see ourselves looking ahead to the Paris Olympics,” said Batch.

“At this stage we are naming 23 players who we believe are capable of being in Paris in 2024.”

“There is strong competition within the squad but we also expect there will be younger players knocking on the door and some of them will join us once we have time to assess the next group coming in.”

“We hope to finalise the squad early next year.”

Kookaburras veterans Matt Swann, Tyler Lovell and Trent Mitton all retired this year, the trio with a combined 532 international appearances between them.

Despite the vast amount of experience exiting the squad, Batch is excited by the prospect of injecting new faces into the group and providing opportunities for players eager to be part of the Kookaburras setup.

“It’s always nice to bring new players into the squad,” said Batch.

“They create an energy and enthusiasm from being in the Kookaburras squad for the first time.

“We look forward to working with and developing those players, and them learning what it takes to become a Kookaburra.”

Despite only playing six internationals in 16 months leading up to this year’s Olympics, the Kookaburras came within a whisker of a gold medal in Tokyo.

Batch says coming so close is huge motivation for the squad, including Kookaburras games record holder Eddie Ockenden, heading into this shorter Olympic cycle.

The Kookaburras have built a depth of talent that makes competition for spots in the team fierce. This is one of the main reasons Australian men’s hockey continue to be among the best in the world.

“It is always really competitive to get into the final team whether it’s Commonwealth Games, Olympics or other tournaments. That’s the way it should be,” said Batch.

“There is some disappointment from the ones who don’t get selected but for the guys that competed in Tokyo, they gained a lot of experience from that.

“We didn’t quite achieve the ultimate in Tokyo so that’s got to be a driving factor leading up to Paris.”

The squad will assemble together in Perth on 1 December for the first time since their Tokyo campaign. With less than 250 days until the Commonwealth Games, Batch says there is catching up to do.

“Some of the players have gone straight back into training, some have been playing in Europe and some have had an extended break from hockey since the Olympics,” said Batch.

“When we resume training on December 1 we have to reconnect with each other. It will be nice to be back together and then we will have a short break over Christmas before getting stuck into training in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

“We’re still somewhat restricted with our travel so until that becomes clearer we don’t have any matches confirmed prior to Birmingham yet.

“But that’s how we’ve operated in the past 18 months so we’re getting good at having to adjust and adapt to it.”

Kookaburras 2022 squad : 

Name

Date of Birth

Hometown, State

Caps (Goals)

Jacob Anderson

22/03/1997

Mackay, QLD

23 (9)

Daniel Beale

12/02/1993

Brisbane, QLD

191 (30)

Josh Beltz

24/04/1995

Hobart, TAS

53 (4)

Tim Brand

29/11/1998

Chatswood, NSW

53 (23)

Andrew Charter (gk)

30/03/1987

Canberra, ACT

193 (0)

Tom Craig

3/09/1995

Lane Cove, NSW

102 (30)

Matthew Dawson

7/04/1994

Killarney Vale, NSW

154 (12)

Johan Durst (gk)

18/03/1991

Melbourne, VIC

3 (0)

Nathan Ephraums

9/06/1999

Keysborough, VIC

8 (4)

Blake Govers

6/07/1996

Wollongong, NSW

111 (96)

Jake Harvie

5/03/1998

Dardanup, WA

70 (3)

Jeremy Hayward

3/03/1993

Darwin, NT

170 (72)

Tim Howard

23/06/1996

Wakerley, QLD

74 (1)

Dylan Martin

12/01/1998

Wagga Wagga, NSW

13 (0)

Eddie Ockenden

3/04/1987

Hobart, TAS

380 (71)

Flynn Ogilvie

17/09/1993

Wollongong, NSW

123 (23)

Lachlan Sharp

2/07/1997

Lithgow, NSW

60 (13)

Josh Simmonds

4/10/1995

Melbourne, VIC

32 (1)

Jack Welch

26/10/1997

Hobart, TAS

9 (3)

Corey Weyer

28/03/1996

Biggera Waters, QLD

43 (3)

Jake Whetton

16/06/1991

Brisbane, QLD

217 (65)

Tom Wickham

26/05/1990

Perth, WA

66 (32)

Aran Zalewski

21/03/1991

Margaret River, WA

201 (26)

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