HOCKEYROOS & KOOKABURRAS COMMONWEALTH GAMES TEAMS NAMED

Friday 16 March 2018 | The Hockeyroos’ and Kookaburras’ 18-member teams aiming for gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast have today been announced.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will run from April 4-15, with the Hockeyroos the first of the Australian sides in action on Thursday April 5 against Canada.

Emily Smith, who was appointed captain in September, will lead the Hockeyroos as they chase a fourth straight Commonwealth Games Gold medal.

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said reducing the squad down to 18 players in selection had been challenging due to the even nature of the emerging group.

“Selection for the Commonwealth Games has been extremely difficult. We have a very even group at the moment,” Gaudoin said.

“We’ve tried to develop a squad where any of our players could play in the Commonwealth Games team. It’s obviously difficult to finalise the top 18 as a result but we’ve come up with a group that we think is well balanced.”

Retiring veteran Mark Knowles will lead the world number one Kookaburras in their pursuit of a sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games Gold medal.

The Kookaburras won the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia last week and coach Colin Batch said competition for spots in the Commonwealth Games team had been strong.

“We’ve got a lot of depth in our squad at the moment so there’s some disappointed players as you would expect,” Batch said.

“We are pleased with the 18 that we’ve selected. They’ve deserved their selection and we look forward to the Commonwealth Games now.”

Since hockey was introduced into the Commonwealth Games in 1998, Australia have won nine of the 10 gold medals on offer.

The Kookaburras will head for Gold Coast on the back of their Azlan Shah Cup triumph, along with December’s World League Final victory – which saw the side re-claim their number one ranking – and October’s Oceania Cup success.

“We’re very mindful that we’ve got a proud record in the Commonwealth Games and we want to continue that,” Batch said.

“The Kookaburras have got some recent winning form but that doesn’t guarantee us anything in the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s going to be difficult. We can’t look too far beyond our first-round matches which starts with South Africa first up (Saturday April 7).”

The Hockeyroos have had an intense training block over the past month after back-to-back series wins over Spain and China earlier this year, having also won the Oceania Cup in October.

World number five Australia will face strong opposition to retain their Commonwealth Games crown, with both England (second) and New Zealand (fourth) currently ranked higher than the Hockeyroos.

“We’re aiming to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games,” Gaudoin said. “We’ve picked a team that we think can be very successful there.

“The Commonwealth Games history is fantastic for the Hockeyroos and, while we’re aware of it, we know we have to write our own history and that would be a significant success story for the Hockeyroos.

“I think we’re pretty close to being ready now. It’s been valuable having match practice early on this year in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games and also with the World Cup in July/August.”

Kookaburras captain Knowles will finish up his decorated playing career after the tournament in his home state and Batch said they hoped for a fitting farewell for the three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist who could become the side’s second most capped player ever during the event.

“Mark has had a great career and it’s been well-documented over the past 15 years but more recently when he announced his retirement,” Batch said.

“We wish him well, of course, and it’d be terrific for him to win a gold medal in front of family and friends. It’s almost like playing in his own backyard, so it’d be great for us to do that for him.”

Commonwealth Games Australia Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti also congratulated the final players selected onto Team Australia.

“Congratulations to these outstanding 36 Australian athletes that have been announced onto the Team today, it’s great to include these hockey stars into the Team,” Moneghetti said.

“With the inclusion of these athletes, we now have 473 Australian athletes onto the Team that will compete in 18 days’ time.

“Australia has a very proud and successful history in the hockey competition at Commonwealth Games and we would love nothing more than to see that success continue on the Gold Coast.”

The Kookaburras are in Pool A in the men’s draw alongside New Zealand (ninth), Canada (11th), South Africa (15th) and Scotland (23rd).

The Hockeyroos are in Pool B in the women’s draw alongside New Zealand (fourth), Scotland (18th), Canada (21st) and Ghana (30th).

The competition at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre will be action packed at every session and ticket sales have been very strong. The good news for fans, who get in quick, is that there are still tickets to see the world number one Kookaburras in three of their pool matches; vs Scotland (Tuesday 8 April), vs Canada (Thursday 10 April) and against New Zealand (Wednesday 11 April).

To see the Hockeyroos live, fans should snap up remaining preliminary tickets against Canada (Thursday 5 April), vs Ghana (Saturday 7 April), vs New Zealand (Monday 9 April) and vs Scotland (Tuesday 10 April). There are even some A category seats for the women’s semi-finals on the evening of Thursday 12 April. But they won’t last long!

Fans should go to gc2018.com/tickets to be part of the biggest event to happen in Australia in over a decade.

Kookaburras’ Commonwealth Games Team:

Athlete (Hometown, State)

*Competing at first Commonwealth Games

Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)

Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)

*Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)

*Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)

*Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS)

*Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)

*Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)

*Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)

*Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)

Mark Knowles (c) (Rockhampton, QLD)

*Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)

Trent Mitton (Perth, WA)

Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS)

*Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)

*Lachlan Sharp (Lithgow, NSW)

Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)

*Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) -Plays for QLD

Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)

Hockeyroos’ Commonwealth Games Team:

Athlete (Hometown, State)

*Competing at first Commonwealth Games

*Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)

Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) -Plays for ACT

Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)

*Ashlea Fey (Sunshine Coast, QLD)

*Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) -Plays for QLD

*Jordyn Holzberger (Ipswich, QLD)

Emily Hurtz (Sydney, NSW) -Plays for VIC

Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)

*Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)

Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)

Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)

*Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, NSW) -Plays for SA

*Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)

Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)

*Madi Ratcliffe (Warrnambool, VIC)

Emily Smith (c) (Crookwell, NSW)

*Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)

*Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)

Kookaburras Fixtures (all times AEST):

Saturday April 7 4:30pm – Australia v South Africa

Sunday April 8 9:30pm – Australia v Scotland

Tuesday April 10 4:30pm – Australia v Canada

Wednesday April 11 4:30pm – Australia v New Zealand

Friday April 13 – Semi-Finals

Saturday April 14 – Medal Matches

Hockeyroos Fixtures (all times AEST):

Thursday April 5 4:30pm – Australia v Canada

Saturday April 7 9:30pm – Australia v Ghana

Monday April 9 9:30pm – Australia v New Zealand

Tuesday April 10 9:30pm – Australia v Scotland

Thursday April 12 – Semi-Finals

Saturday April 14 – Medal Matches

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