(Photo: © FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

A formidable 16-player Australian men’s hockey team will look to continue their winning streak and keep their perfect Commonwealth Games record in tact when they journey to Delhi this October.


The Kookaburras will enter the 2010 Commonwealth Games as favorites and one of Australia’s most successful teams having only ever lost one match and claiming every gold medal since hockey was introduced in 1998.


The Kookaburras have won every major international tournament since the appointment of coach Ric Charlesworth in January 2009. Having already won the Hero Honda FIH World Cup earlier this year and the ABN AMRO FIH Champions Trophy in early August, the Kookaburras have been unstoppable in 2010, and will be looking to finish the year off strongly with another Commonwealth Games gold medal.


However Charlesworth was quick to point out that the Australians will not underestimate any team at the Commonwealth Games.


“We have had some great results over the past 20 months or so, however I still believe we are not solid yet and still have much to do. I have full confidence in the team we have selected as it has a good amount of experience and youth, however we will not get ahead of ourselves,” said Charlesworth.


Eleven members of the squad will make their Commonwealth Games debut. Queenslanders Jamie Dwyer and Liam de Young have been selected to compete in their third Games, whilst Luke Doerner (VIC), Robert Hammond (QLD) and Mark Knowles (QLD) also represented Australia at the Melbourne Games in 2006.


Veterans De Young, Knowles and Hammond return to the Kookaburras line up having missed selection for the ABN AMRO FIH Champions Trophy.


Despite having the youngest team at the Champions Trophy, the Kookaburras went through the tournament undefeated and won their third Champions Trophy title in a row, giving the team a great amount of confidence leading into the Commonwealth Games.


Youngsters Jason Wilson, Chris Ciriello and Joel Carroll have held their spot and will be looking to further establish themselves at the Commonwealth Games.


“We have great squad depth which is obviously what we are building towards, however it means that players need to make the most of their opportunities and the Commonwealth Games will give these players a chance to do that on a very big international stage,” said Charlesworth.


However Charlesworth said that there are some very capable teams who would be looking to knock off the all conquering Australian team.


“We are the number 1 ranked team in the world, but I think that can give teams a bit more incentive when they face us. England are very capable of beating us as we saw at the World Cup. India and Pakistan will be at home in the Heat of Delhi and with the reduced squad sizes makes things less predictable,” said Charlesworth.


ACGA Chief Executive Officer Perry Crosswhite said, “We have high expectations for our 2010 Commonwealth Games men’s hockey team just as we have had at all three previous Games where the sport was played.


“It will not be easy but we know that if they do their best, as they did in 1998, 2002 and 2006, the 2010 Games tournament will be their hat trick for the year.”


The Delhi 2010 hockey competition will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from 4-14 October 2010.


The Australian women’s hockey team will be announced in mid-September following their BDO FIH World Cup campaign in Argentina.


Team Australia: Desmond Abbott, Nathan Burgers, Joel Carroll, Christopher Ciriello, Liam De Young, Luke Doerner, Jamie Dwyer, Robert Hammond, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Trent Mitton, Edward Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner, Jason Wilson.


Source: Hockey Australia