Ric Charlesworth has again proven that he still has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to coaching, today selecting a player with only three games experience in his 18 man Hero Honda FIH 2010 World Cup squad.
After achieving some good results throughout his initial year with the Kookaburras, Charlesworth will be hoping this squad is capable of delivering Australia their first World Cup in over 24 years.
The event, held every four years, will be played in New Delhi, India from 28 February-13 March.
The squad selected closely resembles the team which won the 2009 ABN AMRO Champions Trophy tournament held in Melbourne late last year.
In what can be considered an unexpected selection, 21 year old Kieran Govers has been selected in the squad. Govers, originally from New South Wales, took up an AIS Scholarship in Perth in January 2010 after returning from hip surgery after the 2009 Junior World Cup. Still only a member of the national development squad, Govers made his national debut only 12 days ago during a recent three test series against Korea in Hobart.
A striker, with the flexibility to play as an attacking midfielder, Govers will look to establish himself alongside the likes of goal scorers Des Abbott, Grant Schubert and Glenn Turner as key playmakers Jamie Dwyer and Eddie Ockenden spend more time in the midfield.
Defender and 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Kiel Brown has returned to the team after missing selection for the Champions Trophy squad. Brown will bring a lot of experience to the Australian defense which is still relatively young following the retirements of full backs Bevan George and Matthew Wells after the Beijing Olympics.
From the 2009 Champions Trophy squad, Brent Dancer and Brent Livermore have been omitted. Livermore, who missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to injury, is only four games away from breaking Jay Stacy’s games record of 321.
Charlesworth says that while the Kookaburras will enter the Hero Honda FIH World Cup as one of the favorites, Australia is just one of several countries who could win.
“I believe there is at least half a dozen teams who are capable of winning. Although we will be one of the favorites, the only pressure we will have is the internal pressure we put on ourselves to play well. This tournament is a big event, it will be very exciting and a new experience for a lot of them to play in India for the first time,” said Charlesworth.
In preparation for the World Cup, the Kookaburras will play a two test series against New Zealand in Perth from 17-19 February. Australia A will also play two matches against New Zealand in Perth on 16 and 20 February.
The Kookaburras have finished runners up at the last two World Cup tournaments and have won the World Cup once in 1986.
Team Australia: Des Abbott, George Bazeley, Graeme Begbie, Kiel Brown, Nathan Burgers, Matthew Butturini, Liam De Young, Luke Doerner, Jamie Dwyer, Kieran Govers, Rob Hammond, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Grant Schubert, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner.
Source: Hockey Australia
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