Perth: National selectors for the men’s national hockey team, the Kookaburras, have today announced four new squad members, along with the team who will compete in the Darwin International Hockey Open.
Tristan Clemons (WA), Tom Wickham (SA) and Matt Willis (NSW) all make the move up to the 2017 national squad from the 2016 national development squad, alongside Josh Pollard (VIC) who recently debuted for the Kookaburras at the Trans-Tasman Trophy.
Kookaburras head coach, Colin Batch said: “After hosting an intensive super-camp with 38 athletes and now having a better idea of out playing depth, I believe we have added four athletes who will bring maturity and an extra layer of skill to the current Kookaburras line-up.
“Tristan has been a regular face at an international level over the last few years and has shown he has the talent to progress to the senior squad, Matt and Josh were both impressive at the Trans-Tasman Trophy and the International Festival of Hockey, while Tom performed well at the AHL and has shown his commitment to playing hockey for Australia.”
Along with the new squad members, the team who will take on Pakistan in a four-game test at the International Hockey Open in Darwin from March 28 until April 1 has been announced.
Among the notable inclusions, is Darwin local Jeremy Hayward, who will return home to play at the Marrara Hockey Stadium for the first time since 2012; while Kiran Arunasalam will make his international debut for the Kookaburras off the back of stellar performances for the junior national team, the Burras, at the Sultan of Johor Cup and the Junior World Cup in late 2016.
Of his selection, Hayward said: “I’m looking forward to going back to Darwin to play for my country in front of my home crowd, on the very pitch I grew up playing on. It’s very exciting times!”
Batch commented: “It’s the start of the new campaign for the Kookaburras; it’s a new coaching staff, a number of new players and some players who have been around the program for a little while but need to establish themselves or re-establish themselves in the squad.
“I believe the team we have selected will be able to show Darwin just why they are ranked number 1 in the world when they take on Pakistan in the four-game test. Hopefully, giving some our younger players more international experience will also help us make our team selection for the Azlan Shah Cup and the World League semi-finals.”
The team depart for Darwin on Saturday, 25 March.
New 2017 Kookaburras Squad Members
Tristan Clemons, Joshua Pollard, Thomas Wickham & Matthew Willis
International Hockey Open Kookaburras Team
Kiran Arunasalam, Joshua Beltz, Tristan Clemons, Ben Craig, Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Jeremy Edwards, Casey Hammond, Jeremy Hayward, Aaron Kleinschmidt, Mark Knowles, Tyler Lovell, Trent Mitton, Flynn Ogilvie, Joshua Pollard, Jacob Whetton, Thomas Wickham, Matthew Willis