After a history making victory at the Champions Trophy in New Zealand last weekend, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth has selected his 2012 London Olympic Games training squad. Charlesworth says “the task of selecting a squad is very difficult. We’ve built a deep squad over the last 3 years and it made the selection process tough, but we believe this group is better balanced in terms of attack and defence".
Heading the list of star players are five time World Player of the Year, Jamie Dwyer and FIH Young Player of the Year, Matthew Swann. Both players were standout performers at the recent Champions Trophy, both winning a gold medal and Jamie winning the top goal scorer award with 7 goals. Injury hit players Rob Hammond and Graeme Begbie were also selected despite not playing a match for the Kookaburras this year. "They are both at the stage where we believe they can train fully" said Charlesworth.
The training squad includes a handful of players who are aiming to play in their third straight Olympic Games. Jamie Dwyer, Liam De Young, Mark Knowles and Rob Hammond will attempt to emulate their 2004 Athens gold medal success in London 2012. In addition, there are nine players in the 2012 squad who tasted success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning a bronze medal. These include: Des Aboott, Kiel Brown, Liam De Young, Luke Doerner, Jamie Dwyer, Fergus Kavanagh, Rob Hammond, Mark Knowles and Eddie Ockenden.
Andrew Charter (ACT) and Jonathon Charlesworth (WA) have been included in the 28 player Olympic training squad at the expense of Trent Mitton (WA), Grant Schubert (WA), Jacob Whetton (QLD) and Leon Hayward (NT). Charlesowrth said that "the two players that have come into the squad (Andrew Charter and Jonathon Charlesworth) are the best performed players from our development squad over the past year. Grant Schubert is still recovering from a serious achilles tendon injury. He’s working hard on his rehabilitation but just hasn’t been able to play any hockey yet. The window is open but he has to show over the next few months that he’s ready to play again”.
Mitton, Schubert and Whetton have all been named in the development squad along with Chris Bausor, Tim Bates, Ian Burcher, Tristan Clemons, Bevan George, Daniel Hotchkis, Josh Miller, Tristan White, Tom Wickham, Matthew Willis and Aren Zalewski.
Bevan George has come out of retirement and is aiming to compete at his third straight Olympic Games. George retired after the bronze medal winning match in Beijing. Ric Charlesworth says “Bevan George approached me a few months ago indicating his interest in being involved and has now been training with the group for 3 months and has progressed ahead of where we thought he might be”.
An intense 3 month training program will see the development squad train with the Olympic sqaud until the end of March where development squad players have the chance to push for senior squad inclusion. The final Olympic Games team will be selected in June.
2012 London Olympic Games Training Squad (28 players)
Des Abbott (NT), George Bazely (VIC), Graeme Begbie (WA), Kiel Brown (WA), Nathan Burgers (QLD), Matthew Butturini (NSW), Jonathon Charlesworth (WA), Andrew Charter (ACT), Joel Carroll (NT), Chris Ciriello (VIC), Brent Dancer (WA), Tim Deavin (TAS), Liam De Young (QLD), Luke Doerner (Tas/VIC), Jamie Dwyer (QLD), Russell Ford (VIC), Matt Gohdes (QLD), Kieran Govers (NSW), Rob Hammond (QLD), Fergus Kavanagh (WA), Mark Knowles (QLD), Eddie Ockenden (TAS), Simon Orchard (NSW), Mark Paterson (NSW), Glenn Simpson (VIC), Matthew Swann (QLD), Glenn Turner (ACT), Jason Wilson (QLD).
2012 Olympic Development Squad (14 players)
Chris Bausor (WA), Tim Bates (QLD), Ian Burcher (WA), Tristan Clemons (WA), Bevan George (WA), Daniel Hotchkis (ACT), Josh Miller (NSW), Trent Mitton (WA), Grant Schubert (WA), Jacob Whetton (QLD), Tristian White (NSW), Tom Wickham (SA), Matthew Willis (NSW), Aran Zalewski (WA).
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