Dragflick Newsdesk : Three of Australia’s finest rising hockey expertise plus an skilled consultant goalkeeper have been introduced as the ultimate 4 additions to the 2022 Kookaburras squad.
Livewire Victorian 19-year previous striker Craig Marais, 20 12 months previous attacking midfielder Ky Willott, Western Australian defender James Collins and skilled goalkeeper Ben Rennie full the Kookaburras’ 27-player roster.
Having initially introduced a robust and skilled squad of 23 gamers in November final 12 months, Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch believes now is a perfect time to incorporate three athletes from the nationwide junior program who’ve been recognized throughout the pathways community as the most effective upcoming prospects.
Marais and Willott had been each a part of the Australia A workforce that competed in a sequence of matches towards the Kookaburras in Darwin previous to final 12 months’s Tokyo Olympics.
Rennie, who has represented Australia at an Indoor Hockey World Cup, is a mature age choice to bolster the Kookaburras’ goalkeeping shares after Tyler Lovell retired final 12 months.
“Both Ky Willott and Craig Marais impressed in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League at the end of 2019. Both came out of the national junior program and have had really good development in their home states,” mentioned Batch.
“They have shown some real quality and are both smart hockey players. Potentially they can grow into really good players for the Kookaburras and we hope that happens.”
“James Collins is comparable in that he has been to the nationwide junior camps and carried out effectively.
“He has progressed a lot in the past couple of years and was part of our performance camp a couple of weeks ago so we know the positives he can bring to the group.”
“Ben Rennie is on the different finish of the spectrum being a mature age choice. An skilled goalkeeper, he has been the goalkeeper for Australia’s Indoor hockey workforce.
“He has performed really well in that environment so he brings those skills into our goalkeeping line. We know at the Olympics last year the goalkeepers who performed best were aged 30 and above, so he brings a maturity to the group.”
With nearly all of the squad already in place, the Kookaburras choice panel took their time to evaluate who would finest complement this system with a spotlight in the direction of this 12 months’s Commonwealth Games and in addition the long run goal of going one higher on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“We spent more time on these four selections to make sure we get them right and we believe we have,” mentioned Batch.
“It is barely the beginning for these gamers so we would like them to not solely develop themselves however actually push the squad and put their hand up for choice when the worldwide matches do come round.
“The injection of these four new players will bring a different energy to the group. They certainly change the dynamics and the enthusiasm they bring will rub off on the rest of the squad.”
Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles congratulated the quartet on their choice, notably given how powerful it has confirmed to crack into the Kookaburras squad.
“Through their on field success, pursuit of excellence and the culture that Colin, his support staff and the athletes have built and instilled in the program, the Kookaburras are one of Australia’s most revered national teams for good reason,” mentioned Pryles.
“To see three youthful talented athletes added to the squad gives a glimpse of the Kookaburras’ bright future and highlights the development being made in our national pathways program.”
“The selection of Ben Rennie who has predominantly an Indoor hockey background demonstrates what is possible and shows the high calibre of Australian hockey in all forms of the game.”
“We look forward to watching their progress over the course of the year which includes the Commonwealth Games and FIH Pro League before the Men’s World Cup in January 2023.”
Kookaburras 2022 squad :
- Jacob Anderson
- Daniel Beale
- Josh Beltz
- Tim Brand
- Andrew Charter (gk)
- James Collins*
- Tom Craig
- Matthew Dawson
- Johan Durst (gk)
- Nathan Ephraums
- Blake Govers
- Jake Harvie
- Jeremy Hayward
- Tim Howard
- Craig Marais*
- Dylan Martin
- Eddie Ockenden
- Flynn Ogilvie
- Ben Rennie*
- Lachlan Sharp
- Josh Simmonds
- Jack Welch
- Corey Weyer
- Jake Whetton
- Tom Wickham
- Ky Willott*
- Aran Zalewski