Following the International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) announcement that Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will host the Samsung Men’s Champions Trophy 2007, Hockey Australia has announced the Kookaburras team to participate in this tournament.
National Coach Barry Dancer said, “It was pleasing to have the opportunity to participate in the Champions Trophy Tournament,” adding “it’s an important part of our program going forward to Beijing and will be a good litmus test of our progress compared to our major competitors.”
Additionally, Kuala Lumpur as a venue will be beneficial to the team’s ongoing preparations, with Dancer indicating, “The environmental conditions in Kuala Lumpur will be similar to those recently experienced at the Beijing Test Event and will provide us with an opportunity to explore our various playing strategies and other team processes in those conditions.”
Moreover, the importance of this competition as a preparation tool is highlighted by the selection of an experienced line-up that includes eleven athletes from the 2004 Athens gold medal winning team.
Of these players, Matthew Wells and Rob Hammond have recovered from hamstring injuries that kept them out of the side that won the 5th Men’s Oceania Cup only two weeks ago and will be welcome additions to the team.
Similarly, goal keeper Daniel McPherson, injured just prior to the start of that tournament has been recalled, whilst young Victorian striker, Russell Ford returns to the team, his first outing with the Kookaburras since the Azlan Shah Tournament in May of this year.
The Kookaburras will prepare for the Champions Trophy with a Home Series against New Zealand in New South Wales. The team will play three test matches on 21 November in Newcastle and on 23 and 25 November in Sydney. The Champions Trophy will be held from 29 November to 9 December.
The Champions Trophy team is the first team to be selected from the recently revised 2007 National Men’s Squad.
“We have been pleased with the development of our squad over the last six months of competition. Our national selectors didn’t feel the need to make significant changes for the next period of our program,” said Dancer.
“Overall there have been three changes to the squad. The notable inclusions of Kiel Brown and Fergus Kavanagh were well deserved and based on their international performances over a number of tours”.
Michael McCann, a 2004 Athens gold medalist has retired from international representative hockey and is the only omission from the squad.
The next review of the national squad will be in March 2008, following the completion of the Australian Hockey League (AHL).
Champions Trophy Team:
Travis BROOKS, Dean BUTLER, Liam DE YOUNG, Jamie DWYER, Nathan EGLINGTON, Russell FORD, Bevan GEORGE, David GUEST, Robert HAMMOND, Aaron HOPKINS, Mark KNOWLES, Stephen LAMBERT, Brent LIVERMORE, Daniel McPHERSON, Matthew NAYLOR, Grant SCHUBERT, Andrew SMITH, Matthew WELLS
2007 National Men’s Squad:
Desmond ABBOTT, Travis BROOKS, Kiel BROWN, Nathan BURGERS, Dean BUTLER, Liam DE YOUNG, Luke DOENER, Jamie DWYER, Nathan EGLINGTON, Russell FORD, Bevan GEORGE, David GUEST, Robert HAMMOND, Josh HAWES, Aaron HOPKINS, Fergus KAVANAGH, Mark KNOWLES, Stephen LAMBERT, Brent LIVERMORE, Daniel McPHERSON, Matthew NAYLOR, Eddie OCKENDEN, Grant SCHUBER, Andrew SMITH, Matthew WELLS
Source: Hockey Australia
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