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Hockey: Knowles, Govers in Australia squad for World League Final; Dwyer out

Kieran Govers has been included in Ric Charlesworth’s Australia squad for the upcoming World League Final in Delhi. Photo: FIH / Grant Treeby.

Kieran Govers is back in the Australia squad for next month’s World League Final in Delhi. Photo: FIH / Grant Treeby.

December 24, 2013: Australia coach Ric Charlesworth has included 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Mark Knowles and London 2012 Olympian Kieran Govers in his squad for the upcoming Hero World League Final, which will be held in Delhi from January 10-18.

 

However, Jamie Dwyer, the five-time World Player of the Year, 2011 World Young Player of the Year Matthew Swann, Athens 2004 winner Rob Hammond and double Olympic bronze medallist Fergus Kavanagh are among those not included in the 18-man squad.

 

With 24 Kookaburras set to take part in the second edition of the Hockey India League immediately after the conclusion of the World League in Delhi, the load management of a number of athletes has come into consideration.

 

Charlesworth said: “It’s our intention to go and play as well as we can. I believe that this team can win it, although we are missing several players for a range of reasons; predominantly injuries and load management. There’s a load issue with some of the senior guys in particular, who if selected would then have eight weeks in India.”

 

The Kookaburras, the world’s second-ranked side, will face the Netherlands (World No. 3), Belgium (5) and Argentina (11) in Pool B of the eight-team competition. Pool A features 2012 Olympic champions Germany (1), England (4), New Zealand (7) and hosts India (10).

 

Knowles and Govers, two of Australia’s biggest names, are both returning from injury and their presence will be a huge boost as the team embark on a big year, during which they will also compete in the World Cup in the Netherlands, Commonwealth Games in Scotland and Champions Trophy, also in India.

 

Knowles has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in September’s Australian Hockey League, which forced the experienced defender to miss November’s Oceania Cup victory in New Zealand, although he filled a leadership role with the team in Taranaki.

 

For Govers, selection marks a welcome return after tearing his hamstring last June in Australia’s World League Semi Final win over the Netherlands.

 

Australia U-21 captain Daniel Beale has earned a return to Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi, where he led Australia at this month’s Junior World Cup, while Tristan White, Tyler Lovell and Aran Zalewski have also received a call-up. Lovell is one of two goalkeepers, with George Bazeley returning for the first time since helping Australia win a seventh Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title in March.

 

“The World League Final will give us an opportunity to look at some of those less experienced players,” Charlesworth said. “Aran Zalewski and Jake Whetton were both taken to Europe for the World League Semi Final, but were unlucky to miss out on the final 18, and Tristan White’s doing particularly well. He has been finishing his studies and playing well so he has earned his chance.”

 

Charlesworth added that the tournament’s forgiving format, with a three-match pool phase determining teams’ opposition in a guaranteed quarter-final, could work in their favour.

 

“It’s a pretty good team, it can do well. It’s difficult to judge where we are because we’re out of season without regular competitive club hockey, but the nature of the tournament format allows us to work up to it.”

 

The tournament curtain-raiser on January 10 will feature the Kookaburras and Belgium, who beat Australia in the final of the Word League Semi Final after a dramatic shootout.

 

Australia squad for Hero World League Final, Delhi, India; January 10-18, 2014

Name (Hometown, State)

George Bazeley (GK) (Melbourne, VIC)

Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)

Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD)

Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT)

Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC)

Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD)

Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS)

Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC)

Kieran Govers (Wollongong, NSW)

Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD)

Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA)

Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)

Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW)

Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW)

Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)

Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW)

Jason Wilson (Kingscliff, QLD)

Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)

 

Australia World League Fixtures

Friday 10 January v Belgium (Pool B)

Saturday 11 January v Netherlands (Pool B)

Monday 13 January v Argentina (Pool B)

Wednesday 15 January: Quarter-final

Friday 17 January: Semi-final or Classification

Saturday 18 January: Medal match or Classification

 

Source: FIH

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