Hockey Australia today announces the 20-member Kookaburras team for the upcoming Darwin International Hockey Open (DIHO) and two Tests against Argentina.
The world number one Kookaburras will compete against Argentina (ranked second), Malaysia (12th) and Japan (16th) in the DIHO from Tuesday-Saturday 18-22 September at Marrara Hockey Centre.
Australia will also play 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallists Argentina in two Tests on Friday 14 September and Sunday 16 September at the same venue.
The matches are all crucial preparation for the Kookaburras leading into the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, starting in November where Australia will defend their world title.
Uncapped 22-year-old Victorian defender Josh Simmonds, Queenslander Jacob Anderson and Tasmanian Jack Welch have all been called up to make their Kookaburras debuts.
Forward pair Anderson, 21, and Welch, 20, both come from outside the National Senior Men’s Squad.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “Every selection has its challenges and this one is no exception.
“We’ve had a number of injuries with our strikers so we’ve had to look beyond the National Senior Men’s Squad and we’ve selected Jacob and Jack from our National Development Squad.
“Both played recently in the National Under-21’s Championships and also in the Australia A Series in Malaysia. They performed well and their selections are based on their performances at those two events.
“They happened to be in good form when this selection opportunity came along and we’re excited for them to make their debuts.
“Likewise Josh Simmonds, who was added to the National Senior Men’s Squad earlier this year, gets his opportunity in defence.
“He’s a really dedicated athlete, who is well prepared and it’ll be nice to see him get his debut.”
From the Kookaburras team which won the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands in July, goalkeeper Andrew Charter and defender Matthew Dawson both return from injury, while Darwin local Jeremy Hayward retains his spot and will play in front of his home crowd.
Wollongong forward Kieran Govers, who has 121 caps and scored 58 goals for Australia, earns his first call-up since November 2016 having been added to the National Senior Men’s Squad in May.
“Kieran has worked very hard to get back into the squad,” Batch said.
“We’re happy to test him again at international level and see if he can stake a claim for World Cup selection.”
The Darwin matches will lead into the Australian Hockey League and an October training camp as Batch and the National Selectors home in on selection for the World Cup later this year.
Batch added: “We’re narrowing towards the World Cup and, even though we’ve gone outside the squad, we’re still trying to find our best group of players for the World Cup.
“Our performances in Darwin will be taken into consideration but we’ve got further opportunities for players not selected in Darwin to impress during AHL and our October national camp.”
The Kookaburras are due to arrive in Darwin on Wednesday 12 September.
Kookaburras team for DIHO & Tests vs Argentina:
Athlete (City, State)
Jacob Anderson (Mackay, QLD)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Josh Beltz (Hobart, TAS)
Timothy Brand (Chatswood, NSW)
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Tim Howard (Wakerley, QLD)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Joshua Simmonds (Doncaster, VIC)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Corey Weyer (Biggera Waters, QLD)
Jack Welch (Hobart, TAS)
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)
Australia v Argentina Fixtures (all fixtures in local time/ACST):
Friday 14 September 7pm – Australia v Argentina
Sunday 16 September 7pm – Australia v Argentina
2018 DIHO Fixtures (all fixtures in local time/ACST):
Tuesday 18 September 5:15pm – Argentina v Japan
Tuesday 18 September 7pm – Australia v Malaysia
Wednesday 19 September 5:15pm – Malaysia v Japan
Wednesday 19 September 7pm – Argentina v Australia
Friday 21 September 5pm – Malaysia v Argentina
Friday 21 September 7pm – Australia v Japan
Saturday 22 September 5pm – 3rd Place Final
Saturday 22 September 7pm – 1st Place Final