News for 23 December 2013

All the news for Monday 23 December 2013


Knowles & Govers return

Charlesworth selects his 18 for World League Finals in Delhi next month




Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth has named his 18 athlete squad for next month’s inaugural Hero Hockey World League Finals tournament in Delhi, India.

As the Australian men commence a busy and high profile year featuring the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy competitions, as well as the World League Finals, Charlesworth’s squad features a number of athletes for whom the World League Finals offers an opportunity to gain highly valuable major tournament experience.

It also sees the return of two of the Kookaburras’ biggest names with Olympic gold medal winner Mark Knowles and London 2012 Olympian Kieran Govers both back from injury.

Experienced defender Knowles has recovered from an ankle injury sustained at September’s Australian Hockey League. The injury forced him 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 to the Kookaburras after tearing his hamstring in Australia’s semi-final victory over the Netherlands in the last round of the World League competition back in June. 

Queenslander Daniel Beale, New South Wales’ Tristan White and Western Australian pair Tyler Lovell and Aran Zalewski have all received the call up. For Beale, selection means a return to the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Delhi, where recently captained the Australian Under 21 men, the Burras, at the Junior World Cup.

Lovell is one of two goalkeepers named with Victorian stopper George Bazeley returning to the Kookaburras side for the first time since helping the Aussie men to a record seventh Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title in March.

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

Speaking about the selected squad, Ric 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 World League Finals will give us an opportunity to look at some of those less experienced players. Aran Zalewski and Jake Whetton were both taken to Europe for the World League Semi-Final tournament 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.”

Among those not selected are five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, 2011 World Young Player of the Year Matthew Swann, Olympic gold medallist Rob Hammond and double Olympic bronze medallist Fergus Kavanagh.

Speaking about the tournament and his side’s chances, Charlesworth said, “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,” referring to the three match pool phase that determines teams’ opposition in a guaranteed quarter-final.

The Kookaburrras depart for India on 5 January. Drawn in Pool B of the eight team competition they will face Belgium, Olympic silver medallists the Netherlands and Argentina, who proved at the recent International Super Series in Perth just how much they have improved in recent times. The tournament curtain-raiser on 10 January will feature the Kookaburras and Belgium, who beat Australia in the final of the Word League Semi-Final tournament in June after a dramatic shoot-out.

Pool A features hosts India, Olympic champions Germany, England and New Zealand.

Have your say on the squad. Post your thoughts on the Kookaburras' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheKookaburras.

Kookaburras Squad for World League Finals
10-18 January, Delhi, India
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)

Kookaburras World League Fixtures
Friday 10 January v Belgium - 2pm local / 7:30pm AEDT / 4:30pm AWST
Saturday 11 January v Netherlands – 4pm local / 9:30pm AEDT / 6:30pm AWST
Monday 13 January v Argentina – 4pm local / 9:30pm AWDT / 6:30pm AWST
Wednesday 15 January v Quarter Final – tbc
Friday 17 January v Semi Final or Classification – tbc
Saturday 18 January v Medal match of Classification – tbc

World ranking positions of competing nations
Germany (1), Australia (2), Netherlands (3), England (4), Belgium (5), New Zealand (7), India (10), Argentina (11)

Kookaburras’ major tournaments 2014
10-19 January: World League Finals (Delhi, India)
13-23 March: Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (Ipoh, Malaysia)
31 May – 15 June: World Cup (The Hague, Netherlands)
23 July – 3 August: Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland)
December (dates tbc): Champions Trophy (India)

Hockey Australia media release



Still the region's best


The men’s and women’s hockey teams are in the league of their own.

THE women's team scored a whopping 72 goals in six matches, which include the world record 36-0 thrashing of Cambodia in a group match. Nasihin Nubli's side, who finished third in the Asian Champions Trophy, had it easy in every match.

The team may have improved but are still lagging behind top nations in Asia. The men's team, comprising ex-and-current internationals and those dropped from the Junior World Cup, were a class above, scoring 48 goals in five matches.  Southeast Asian hockey has not improved as countries, except for Malaysia, do not invest a lot in the sport.

New Straits Times



Fiji prepares for defence

Rashneel Kumar



Fiji HPU player Adrian Smith, right, coming in to defend against Australian Country in their final game of a three-match series at the National Hockey Centre on Saturday. Picture: ATU RASEA

THE Fiji men's hockey coach Hector Smith Sr has started planning ways to defend the trophy against the Australian Country next year.

The visitors, who have committed to returning next year, have vowed to claim the trophy which they brought to spice up the competition this year.

The Fiji men's High Performance Unit side won the series following its 2-1 and 3-0 wins last week.

"When an Australian team is beaten by a Fiji team, they don't like it, so they will come back stronger which is all the more reason why we should prepare even better," Smith Sr said.

The under-21 Australian Country team has been touring Fiji for about a decade.

Smith Sr said the visitors used to thrash them previously but have not been so effective lately.

"They used to beat us 9-1, 9-0 before. Since we started a HPU in 2008 to prepare for the Pacific Cup that was being played every December, we have managed to beat them a couple of times.

"We have been having some seesaw battles so every time they come down, they are coming with a stronger team.

"These guys used to previously go to Singapore and Malaysia but when we sort of lifted our performance, they felt they were getting a decent competition down here and they geared towards it to come down every year."

Smith Sr said they have learnt a lot through the exchange of ideas with the Australian Country team in the past several years.

The Fiji Times



Women's hockey side works on mistakes

Rashneel Kumar


THE Fiji women's hockey side will use the lessons learnt in the three-match series against the Australian Country to prepare for the World Series qualifiers next year.

Coach Allison Southey was impressed with the commitment of the national players despite the national High Performance Unit side losing all its three matches 0-1.

"They have only been together for five weeks in training so we have a fairly new team with a few seniors to help out.

"I'm very pleased and proud of their performance."

Southey said the team learnt a lot in skills and game structure.

"With regards to skills and the new game structure we have learnt from them, it's just a different level of hockey with them."

Southey said the players would go on break and return in the second week of January to prepare for the upcoming season. She said the High Performance Unit had 25 players with the door open until next month for those interested to join the team.

Australian Country women's coach Wally Gaynor said the Fijians had a good future in the sport.

The Fiji Times



Year-ender: Reality bites for Black Sticks

BRENDON EGAN


TOUGH TIME: Canterbury's Sophie Cocks and the Black Sticks' youngsters faced a baptism of fire at the World League Final tournament in Argentina. Fairfax NZ

The Black Sticks' men and women received a stern reality check in the first year of the new Olympic cycle.

Both sides were inconsistent with their play at major tournaments in 2013 and will know they need to raise the bar significantly next year - in what promises to be a hectic season of hockey.

The New Zealand sides will be targeting strong showings at the World Cup and Commonwealth Games, with the women attending the Champions Trophy in November and the men off to the second tier Champions Challenge tournament.

After last year's London Olympics, the Black Sticks' sides were always going to experience a transitional phase with some players stepping away from the game and others being overtaken by promising new talent. The first year of the Olympic cycle is the time to experiment and build depth and that is exactly what women's coach Mark Hager and men's counterpart Colin Batch attempted to do.

The Black Sticks' women had moments of excellence this year, but would have disappointed with how they fared against the major hockey nations. New Zealand have made huge strides under Hager's tutelage over the past five years and now go into the top tournaments aiming to medal, rather than just make up the numbers.

With experienced stars Katie Glynn and Stacey Michelsen both recovering from knee injuries and co-captain Emily Naylor remaining back in New Zealand to be the bridesmaid at former team-mate Stacey Carr's wedding, the young Black Sticks' side struggled to a fifth place finish at the World League final tournament in Argentina this month.

Captain Kayla Sharland joined an elite club in the side's last game of the year, becoming just the third New Zealand women's player to amass 200 caps.

The Black Sticks' women were underwhelming at the earlier World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam in June, finishing fourth after a shootout loss to Korea.

New Zealand tasted the agony of shootout defeat only a few months later when they lost the final of the Oceania Cup to archrivals Australia in Stratford.

One of the big talking points of the season was the axing of New Zealand hockey's golden girl Charlotte Harrison, who was dropped from the national team in September. It will be interesting to see if the 183-cap striker can fight her way back into the mix again.

Hager will take some comfort from the emergence of promising talents Rhiannon Dennison, Sophie Cocks, Brooke Neal, Liz Thompson and Rose Keddell, and the side's four nations tournament win in Whangarei in April.
Ad Feedback

The New Zealand men found the going tough in 2013, being outclassed 5-2 by Australia in the final of the Oceania Cup, which was coupled with a 3-1 loss in round-robin play. New Zealand have astonishingly only beaten the reigning World Cup champions once from 18 clashes over the past five years.

At the World League semifinal tournament in Rotterdam, New Zealand were pipped 3-2 by Belgium, which put them into the third-fourth playoff game, where they were thumped 4-1 by the Netherlands. They will contest the World League Final in India next month. Evergreen striker Phil Burrows became the first Kiwi to bring up 300 appearances for the national team during the tournament.

On the domestic front, Auckland won their third successive men's national league title, beating Southern in a shootout after the game was tied 2-2 at fulltime. Midlands won the women's competition for the first time, thrashing Capital 5-0 in the decider. 

Stuff



BSF Jalandhar win Liberals Cup


BSF Jalandhar pose with the trophy after beating Jarkhar Academy in the final. — Tribune Photo

Patiala - BSF Jalandhar pipped Jarkhar Academy 3-2 in the final to lift the glittering Liberals Trophy on the concluding day of the 38th Liberals All India Hockey Tournament. BSF, seven time winner of the trophy, brought out their best to subdue the fighting Jarkhar boys. The match started with the BSF going on the offensive right from the word go. After wasting penalty corners in the second and fifth minute, the BSF surged ahead in 7th minute through inside-right Hatinder Singh, who collected the ball on the 25 yard line and defeated the goalkeeper with a sharp hit into the left corner.

Ranjit Singh increased the lead to 2-0 when he intercepted a pass from centre half Parminder Singh, and weaved his way into the circle past a bunch of defenders before placing the ball into the goal between the legs of goalkeeper.

After lying low for some time, Jarkhar lads hit back to score two goals through Damanjeet Singh in 19th minute and Lovepreet Singh in the 46th minute to level the score.

BSF made full use of their experience to subdue the talented Jarkhar forwards and scored the winning goal in the 62nd minute through Hatinder Singh, who did not make any mistake in putting the ball into the goal after receiving a pass towards the left side of the striking circle.

The winners BSF Jalandhar were awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, while runners up Jarkhar Academy got richer by Rs 51,000.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a Member the Rajya Sabha, was the chief guest, accompanied by India captain Sardar Singh.

The Tribune