Hockey Australia today (Friday 17 November) announces the Kookaburras 18-member team for next month’s Men’s FIH World League Final in Bhubaneswar, India.
World number two Australia are grouped against India (world number six), Germany (five) and England (seven) in Pool B of the eight-nation tournament which runs from 1-10 December.
Captain Mark Knowles is one of a number of experienced players who return after being given the opportunity to freshen up as Australia won the International Festival of Hockey (IFOH) in Melbourne last week.
Knowles returns alongside Ben Craig, Tom Craig, Tyler Lovell, Matthew Swann, Tristan White and Dylan Wotherspoon.
Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch said: “Selection is always difficult, we have a very competitive squad, we view the World League Final as an opportunity to learn how our players handle the pressure that an eight-team tournament brings.
“We’re pleased to welcome back a number of players who we gave the opportunity to freshen up during the International Festival of Hockey with a view to being in prime condition for the World League Final.
“We’re optimistic we’ll see positive results from giving them that opportunity to refresh before we take on some of the best teams in the world.”
Kiran Arunasalam, Josh Beltz, Andrew Charter, Jake Harvie, Tim Howard, Josh Pollard and Corey Weyer are the players to make way from the IFOH team.
Defender Beltz is unavailable after sustaining a knee injury in Sunday’s 2-1 IFOH Final win over New Zealand.
Forward Trent Mitton, who missed the IFOH, is also unavailable after undergoing surgery on a fractured thumb a fortnight ago.
The World League Final will be Australia’s final tournament of 2017 ahead of a big year where the Kookaburras will compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 World Cup.
Argentina (one), Belgium (three), the Netherlands (four) and Spain (nine) are in Pool A at the World League Final.
Batch said: “This is a good opportunity to play against European teams and to test where we’re at after a lot of changes this year in the squad.
“We’ve not played against Argentina and the Netherlands for a while and we’ve not played Germany this year either, so that’s why this is a valuable tournament for us.”
Speaking about Australia’s ambition at the World League Final, Batch added: “It’s no different to any other tournament where we go to perform to our best.
“We’re also assessing players in their capacity to play against the other top nations in the world.
“We always go out there to win every game we play, so nothing changes.”
The Kookaburras will fly out for India on Saturday 25 November.
Fox Sports will televise all Men's World League Final matches, with all Kookaburras matches to be televised live.
Kookaburras team for World League Final:
Athlete (City, State)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA)
Ben Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Edward Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)
Matthew Swann (Mackay, QLD)
Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW)
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *Plays for WA
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)
Source: Hockey Australia Media Release