Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth will hand five players their senior international debuts this week when Australia’s men’s hockey team welcome Korea to Perth Hockey Stadium. Jeremy Edwards (TAS), Tyler Lovell (WA), Andrew Philpott (VIC), Tom Wickham (SA) and Matthew Willis (NSW) will all make the step up during the four match series.
Naming a group of 27 athletes, Charlesworth explained: “The games against Korea represent a selection trial ahead of our trip to Europe for the World League competition in June. The series presents us with a good opportunity to increase the depth of our squad as we look further ahead to the Oceania Cup, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the World Cup and beyond.
“All five of our debutants have been selected because they have shown good form in training and for their clubs over the past month.”
For Edwards, Philpott and Lovell in particular the call-ups represent a rapid progression to the senior side. Excellent performances in the Australian Hockey League last year earned Edwards and Philpott their places in the Kookaburras development program while Lovell, who has never played junior international hockey, impressed in the uncapped International Super Series in Perth in November 2012.
Tom Wickham and Matthew Willis have both played for Australia A previously as AIS scholarship holders but missed out on selection to the Kookaburras’ senior Olympic training squad in 2011.
Of the squad that won the Azlan Shah Cup, 15 members will play in the Korean series, including three who debuted in Malaysia: Daniel Beale (QLD), Josh Miller (NSW) and Dan Mirecki (VIC).
The Kookaburras are missing seven regulars with European club commitments but welcome back some of their more experienced names in Jamie Dwyer, Liam De Young, Glenn Turner, Kiel Brown, Russell Ford and Jason Wilson. For triple Olympic medal winner De Young the series represents a return to international hockey for the first time since helping Australia to a bronze medal playoff victory over Great Britain at London 2012. Tristan Clemons (WA) returns to the senior side for the first time since October 2011.
The Kookaburras and Korea drew 3-3 on their previous encounter and Charlesworth expects a tough assignment in Perth, adding: “Korea are a very good team. They were our most difficult opposition in the Azlan Shah tournament.”
Ranked eighth in the world, Korea are coached by former Germany and Malaysia coach Paul Lissek, who spent time as a consultant to the Kookaburras prior to and during the 2012 Olympic Games.
All four matches between the Kookaburras and Korea will be streamed live on the Hockey Australia website at www.hockey.org.au.
Kookaburras v Korea Fixtures, 3-9 May, Perth Hockey Stadium
Game 1 Kookaburras v Korea – Friday 3rd May 2013 – 7:00pm WST
Game 2 Kookaburras v Korea – Sunday 5th May 2013 – 4:00pm WST
Game 3 Kookaburras v Korea – Tuesday 7th May 2013 – 5:30pm WST
Game 4 Kookaburras v Korea – Thursday 9th May 2013 – 5:30pm WST
Kookaburras Squad for Korea Test Series:
|Chris Bausor||(Perth, WA)||10|
|George Bazeley||(Melbourne, VIC)||62|
|Daniel Beale||(Brisbane, QLD)||5|
|Kiel Brown||(Toowoomba, QLD)||125|
|Nick Budgeon||(Launceston, TAS)||6|
|Joel Carroll||(Darwin, NT)||79|
|Andrew Charter||(Canberra, ACT)||38|
|Tristan Clemons||(Bunbury, WA)||2|
|Liam De Young||(Brisbane, QLD)||284|
|Tim Deavin||(Launceston, TAS)||64|
|Jamie Dwyer||(Rockhampton, QLD)||291|
|Jeremy Edwards||(Hobart, TAS)||0|
|Russell Ford||(Eltham, VIC)||120|
|Matt Gohdes||(Rockhampton, QLD)||67|
|Rob Hammond||(Townsville, QLD)||221|
|Tyler Lovell||(Perth, WA)||0|
|Josh Miller||(Goulburn, NSW)||6|
|Dan Mirecki||(Melbourne, VIC)||6|
|Trent Mitton||(Perth, WA)||36|
|Andrew Philpott||(Melbourne, VIC)||0|
|Glenn Simpson||(Melbourne, VIC)||81|
|Glenn Turner||(Goulburn, NSW)||87|
|Jacob Whetton||(Brisbane, QLD)||28|
|Tom Wickham||(Adelaide, SA)||0|
|Matthew Willis||(Tamworth, NSW)||0|
|Jason Wilson||(Kingscliff, QLD)||82|
|Aran Zalewski||(Margaret River, WA)||7|