Australian Brent Livermore, the second most capped Kookaburra of all time (289 international matches), is set to make his return to international hockey. He is named in Ric Charlesworth’s squad for the 2009 Summer Series against the Netherlands.

The Summer Series will be Charlesworth’s first series at the Kookaburras helm, and will be played in Western Australia from 20-25 January 2009. Livermore suffered a stress fracture of the third metatarsal in his left foot only weeks out from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, ruling him out from making his third Olympic appearance.

After missing the Games, there was some speculation as to what the future held for Livermore, however the veteran says that although he is happy to be back to full fitness, he intended to play on post Beijing regardless of the injury.

“It was my goal to continue on even if I didn’t make the Beijing squad. To be honest, having some time off has been very refreshing and has made me more hungry for more success. The injury was a hard pill to swallow, but its now time to get back on top. There are some really big tournaments happening in the next few years, particularly the 2009 Champions Trophy tournament which will be held in Melbourne in late 2009.

To have such a big tournament on home soil is very exciting so hopefully everything goes well throughout the year and I can have an impact at that tournament and beyond. ” said Livermore. While he says his meetings with newly appointed Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth have been limited to date, he believes the coach has an open minded approach to Livermore’s input to the team. “I’ve only had a few meetings with Ric but they have all been positive and I’m very excited to have an opportunity. I think we are both open minded about what the future holds for me in the team.” said Livermore.

Charlesworth said he shares Livermore’s view, and is confident he has overcome his injury. “I believe Brent has settled all his injury issues, and he is obviously keen to continue on. Overall I wanted to see him play before making a decision about his future so I’m open minded about that. I think he would have played in Beijing if it wasn’t for the injury he suffered.” said Charlesworth.

If Livermore’s return is successful, he will have a realistic opportunity to break Jay Stacy’s record of 319 international matches and become the most capped Kookaburra. In contrast to Livermore’s injection of experience, Charlesworth’s first Kookaburras squad also includes five debutants. Following the retirements of defenders Bevan George and Matthew Wells, Charlesworth said youngsters Ian Burcher and Joel Carroll will receive an opportunity to fill that gap in defense.

“Both Burcher and Carroll were part of the 2005 Junior World Cup squad and have shown good development ever since. They are strong defenders with good passing skills, but perhaps their best attribute is their flexibility to play in a variety of positions.” said Charlesworth. Goalkeepers Ross Meadows and George Bazeley also loom as noteworthy inclusions as they receive their chance to establish themselves in the squad.

Source: Hockey Australia