(Photo: 2012 Getty Images)

As the road to Rio 2016 starts, five-time international player of the year Jamie Dwyer will headline an Australian team featuring 10 London Olympic bronze medalists at the Men’s Champions Trophy 2012 in Melbourne from 1-9 December.

The Champions Trophy is the first major men’s hockey tournament since the London Games and will provide the perfect opportunity for new, returning and regular players to showcase their credentials to claim a spot on the 2013 Kookaburras roster.

“The first Champions Trophy in the new Olympic cycle will allow teams to try different things. It’s important to have some younger players there and bring back athletes we might want to have another look at in different positions,” said Kookaburras assistant coach Graham Reid.

Australia will face the world’s leading hockey nations including reigning Olympic champions Germany and silver medalists the Netherlands as they attempt to reclaim the number one world ranking.

“The tournament allows our athletes chasing certain positions to line up against some of the world’s best players and challenge themselves. It will be refreshing,” said Reid.

Kookaburras youngsters Trent Mitton, Josh Miller and Tristan White will have their chance to impress the Kookaburras coaching staff and selectors, replacing London Olympians Liam de Young, Tim Deavin, Matt Gohdes and Matthew Butturini.

European based players Simon Orchard, Fergus Kavanagh, Chris Ciriello and Mark Knowles have all been included in the 18 man squad.

Highly decorated Olympian Nathan Burgers announced his retirement from international hockey earlier this month, opening the door for George Bazeley and Andrew Charter to make their claim as Australia’s first choice goal keeper.

“I leave the international stage as a World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy winner, as well as an Olympic bronze medalist. With my departure, Bazeley and Charter will no doubt be eyeing that starting spot,” said Burgers.

History will not be lost on the Kookaburras squad. In recent year’s the Australian’s have dominated the Champions Trophy and will be attempting to win a record fifth successive title.

With four major international tournaments between now and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the Champions Trophy will set the foundation for the next four years and the Kookaburras ambitions of gold in Rio.

Full Kookaburras Men’s Champions Trophy 2012 team list:

George Bazeley (VIC) Mark Knowles (QLD)
Kiel Brown (WA) Josh Miller (NSW)
Joel Carroll (NT) Trent Mitton (WA)
Andrew Charter (ACT) Eddie Ockenden (TAS)
Chris Ciriello (VIC) Simon Orchard (NSW)
Jamie Dwyer (QLD) Glenn Simpson (VIC)
Russell Ford (VIC) Matthew Swan (QLD)
Kieran Govers (NSW) Tristan White (NSW)
Fergus Kavanagh (WA) Jason Wilson (QLD)