Three-time Olympian and Athens 2004 gold medallist Liam De Young is set to become only the fourth Australian to make 300 appearances for the Kookaburras after being named in the squad for the prestigious invitational Sultan Azlan Shah tournament. He will join Jay Stacy (321 caps), Brent Livermore (317) and fellow Queenslander Jamie Dwyer (308) as a member of the ‘300 club’.
Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden - a two-time Olympic bronze medallist and World Cup winner - will make his 200th appearance for the Kookaburras while Victorian Glenn Simpson will reach a century of matches for Australia.
National Coach Ric Charlesworth makes eight changes from the Kookaburras squad that competed at the World League Finals in Delhi in January with several other significant milestones expected.
Darwin-born Jeremy Hayward will make his competitive senior international debut in Ipoh having impressed at the International Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth last October and at the Junior World Cup in Delhi in December.
Western Australian Trent Mitton - a Commonwealth Games gold medallist - and Queenslander Jake Whetton will both play their 50th international matches.
Five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer returns to the Kookaburras’ line-up having been rested for the World League Finals while there are also recalls for goalkeeper Andrew Charter, Simpson, Matt Gohdes, Rob Hammond, Mitton and Andrew Philpott, who has be elevated into the national senior squad for 2014. Penalty corner ace Chris Ciriello returns having been withdrawn from the World League squad after suffering a torn calf. In all, nine of the squad have recently returned from the Hockey India League, including Tristan White, who along with Gohdes, was a winner with the Delhi Waveriders in hockey’s premier franchise-based competition.
Announcing the squad, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said, “The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is our last tournament before the World Cup and the squad has been picked with that in mind.
“We’ve selected based on a range of objectives, including load management. We’ve got athletes that have played in the Oceania Cup, World League Finals and Hockey India League and we need to look after them with both the World Cup and Commonwealth Games coming up. Some people, like Jamie Dwyer, were rested for the World League Finals but now need to come back and play with the group.”
Gunning for a record eighth title as they defend their 2013 crown, the Kookaburras will face Canada, China, Korea, South Africa and hosts Malaysia in the 23rd edition of the competition.
Charlesworth added that despite the recent withdrawal of Pakistan, the now six team tournament has the quality to test Australia.
“It’s unfortunate that a couple of teams [Pakistan and France] had to pull out but the likes of Korea, Malaysia and South Africa in particular are quality teams that will be at the World Cup. The tournament format means that we’ll also have a few two-day rest periods, which is unusual in hockey but which we will experience in The Hague and at the Commonwealth Games so that too will be good preparation.”
Kookaburras squad for Sultan Azlan Shah
13-23 March 2014 - Ipoh, Malaysia
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 20/5
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 14/3
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 54/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 125/69
Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD) 296/34
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 308/200
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 143/69
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 80/22
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 239/28
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 0/0
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 224/18
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 14/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 48/14
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 199/51
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 9/1
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 99/19
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 46/18
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 21/1
Kookaburras fixtures at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Date - Fixture - Result - Local time - AEDT – AWST
Thurs. 13 March - Kookaburras v China - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Sun. 16 March - Kookaburras v Canada - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Mon. 17 March - South Africa v Kookaburras - 16:05 - 19:05 - 16:05
Thurs. 20 March - Korea v Kookaburras - 20:05 - 23:05 - 20:05
Sat. 22 March - Kookaburras v Malaysia - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Sun. 23 March - Finals Day & Classification - 15:35 - 18:35 - 15:35
Upcoming Kookaburras matches and tournaments
13-23 March – Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (Ipoh, Malaysia)
17-19 April – Kookaburras v New Zealand (Two Tests) (Perth, Australia)
24-25 May – Kookaburras v England (Two Tests) (England)
31 May – 15 June – Men’s World Cup (The Hague, Netherlands)
23 July – 3 Aug – Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland)
13-21 December – Men’s Champions Trophy (Bhubaneswar, India)