Friday, March 1, 2024

Australia reveal 2024 men’s squad .. during Junior Hockey World Cup

Australia men took the decision to announce their senior squad for 2024 on Wednesday, with the young Kookaburras getting their Junior World Cup under way.

Coach Colin Batch has named a 27-player Kookaburras squad for the upcoming Olympic year, which will take in the FIH Pro League and the Paris Games. 

However the timing of the squad release has raised eyebrows, given up and comers competing in Malaysia at the under-21 World Cup might have harboured dreams of being called into the senor squad.

As it was only Victorian Craig Marais, who has 14 senior caps, was announced in the squad.

Meanwhile Batch has stuck with much of the squad named in 2023, with eight players from NSW, seven from Queensland, four from Western Australia, three from Victoria, three from Tasmania, and one each from the NT and ACT.  

Eddie Ockenden, with 427 caps to his name, is in contention to become the first Australian hockey player to compete at five summer Olympic Games and equal sixth for most Olympic Games appearances by any Australian.

Queenslander Corey Weyer finds himself back in the Kookaburras squad. Weyer made his debut for the Kookaburras back in 2017 and racked up 43 appearances for the national side between then and 2020.

In-form goalkeeper Ash Thomas has also been named after making his debut for the Kookaburras earlier this year, after being called in to the squad for the FIH Pro League series held in Europe in June. 

“Ash (Thomas) comes into the squad after some impressive performances, and as the standout goalie across the past two Hockey One seasons. Following his debut earlier this year, he continues to refine and develop his performance, and therefore joins us full of confidence,” Kookaburras Head Coach, Colin Batch said.  

“Corey (Weyer) was a well-deserved selection too following his Hockey One performances this year. Despite not being included in the squad this time last year, he has since regained enthusiasm for hockey and developed his physical capabilities to force his way back in the squad. It’s a great example of self-drive that has been rewarded with another opportunity. 

“The selection for the team to head to Paris next year is still very open. Players will need to perform consistently both at training and in matches leading up to the Olympics to secure their position. As we discovered this year, there is a fine line between the Kookaburras Squad and the Tier One National Development Squad members and, if required, we will select from the Tier One squad to find our best team for Paris.”

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