Beltz Brothers back together, hotly contested Kookaburras Squad named for final Pre-Olympic Test

Published Thu 23 May 2024

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch is holding nothing back in his run to the Paris 2024 Olympics, naming a hotly contested 22-man squad to make a charge for the FIH Pro League Season 5 title in Europe.

Watch every Kookaburras & Hockeyroos FIH Pro League match live and free on 7plus

It’s the penultimate tour before the biggest selection of the year and Batch admits his job is getting tougher, with just two months remaining until Olympic selection.

“It's always tough, we've got a lot of depth, there are a lot of good players in the squad and some good players are missing out so that's becoming reality and it's tough to get in and stay there so players need to keep performing.”

Tasmania’s Hayden Beltz will return to the squad for the first time since competing in the FIH Pro League in Christchurch, NZ in April last year, one month after he made his debut for the national side against India.

“[Colin Batch] pulled me aside at training which was a bit of a surprise,” Hayden said. “Normally in the past, it's been to tell me I haven't been going! But this time he told me I was selected.

“It was a massive surprise and that's not to say that I think I've been far off the pace, I just think the quality of the squad at the moment is really impressive. I’m super excited and really grateful for the opportunity to play.”

He’ll re-join his brother Josh on the national side, with both admitting it’s a proud moment for the Beltz family.

“Some of the toughest matches I’ve had have been in the backyard against Hayden growing up! I'm obviously incredibly proud of him and I think he's been playing well for a long time, so I’m stoked he’s getting his opportunity and it's always fun running out there together,” Josh said.

Batch agrees and said his call-up reflects the immense depth in the wider squad.

“Hayden's a really good player… He's performed well day in and day out in our DTE and he's a good player who deserves his selection… We wanted to broaden our opportunities for selection going forward just in case we returned from Europe with a few injuries, and we want to have some updated knowledge on who's selectable going forward.”

With Lane Cove’s Tom Craig, Wollongong’s star striker Blake Govers and Queensland’s Tim Howard all returning from minor injuries after missing the Kookaburra’s 5-Test clean sweep over India last month, the squad is fit and primed to strengthen their impressive run rate of 11 wins from 12 matches this season.

Lithgow’s Lachlan Sharp is in line to bring up 100 matches for Australia, while Newcastle’s Ky Willott is set to reach 50 in just six matches.

The Kookaburras get the next leg of Season 5 of the FIH Pro League underway against hosts Belgium in Antwerp on May 30th, before taking on Argentina, Great Britain and Germany.

The Kookaburras sit in 2nd on the standings, 6 points behind the Netherlands, who have played an extra four matches in the 2023-24 season.

Name Hometown, State Caps (Goals) Junior Hockey Club
Daniel Beale Brisbane, QLD 237 (60) Commercial HC, Bulimba HC
Josh Beltz Hobart, TAS 112 (8) Diamondbacks HC
Hayden Beltz Hobart, TAS 7 (0) Diamondbacks HC
Tim Brand Chatswood, NSW 91 (49) Ryde Hunters Hill HC
Andrew Charter (gk) Canberra, ACT 233 (0) Central HC
Tom Craig Lane Cove, NSW 128 (71) Ryde Hunters Hill HC
Matt Dawson Killarney Vale, NSW 203 (25) Norths Newcastle
Johan Durst (gk) Melbourne, VIC 35 (0) TEM HC
Nathan Ephraums Keysborough, VIC 65 (32) Southern United HC
Blake Govers Wollongong, NSW 154 (143) Uni of Wollongong, Albion Park HC
Jake Harvie Dardanup, WA 132 (8) Boyanup Junior HC
Jeremy Hayward Darwin, NT 224 (184) Waratahs HC
Tim Howard Wakerley, QLD 130 (3) Eastern Suburbs HC
Eddie Ockenden Hobart, TAS 438 (77) North West Grads HC
Flynn Ogilvie Wollongong, NSW 161 (52) Uni of Wollongong HC
Lachlan Sharp Lithgow, NSW 94 (18) Zigzag HC, Ryde Hunters Hill HC
Jack Welch Hobart, TAS 38 (14) Diamondbacks HC
Corey Weyer Biggera Waters, QLD 56 (6) Labrador HC
Jake Whetton Brisbane, QLD 271 (131) Eastern Suburbs HC
Tom Wickham Perth, WA 101 (47) Waikerie HC
Ky Willott Newcastle, NSW 44 (12)  Norths HC
Aran Zalewski Margaret River, WA 254 (56) Margaret River HC