Australia: Burras return home after valuable European experience

australia burras return home after valuable european - Australia: Burras return home after valuable European experience - The Burras (Australia’s U21 Men’s Hockey Team) are back on home soil after completing a successful six-match tour of Europe.

The Burras (Australia’s U21 Men’s Hockey Team) are back on home soil after completing a successful six-match tour of Europe.

The tour, which coincided with the Kookaburras’ European FIH Pro League matches, saw the Burras play six matches over the space of 10 days against the U21 national teams from three of world hockey’s heavyweights.

Taking on Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, the Burras came away with two wins, three draws and one loss.

The group also spent valuable time with the Kookaburras travelling party, having the opportunity to watch Australia’s men’s team in action in the FIH Pro League and attend team meetings, debriefs and training sessions.

Burras Assistant Coach Matthew Wells, who worked alongside fellow former Kookaburras teammates – Burras Head Coach Jay Stacy and Hockey Australia Technical Pathways Lead Mark Knowles – said the experience and outcomes were highlight beneficial as the Burras build up towards December’s FIH Junior World Cup in Malaysia.

“The aim was to benchmark ourselves against the European teams to see where we sit. It was great exposure to tour as an Australian team in that environment,” said Wells.

“Jay (Stacy) planned it all really well where we were based in Eindhoven to be able to take on the Belgians, the Dutch and the Germans, while also being there while the Kookaburras were playing in the Pro League.”

“The amount of information we collected as a playing group and also as a coaching staff…we now know a lot more about our players but also a lot more about these other teams.”

“Watching the Kookaburras in the Pro League live gave guys an understanding of the difference in standard. It’s completely different watching it live compared to on television…it puts it into perspective of the level our guys need to reach if they want to play at this top level.”

Wells said the matches gave the players a realisation of what it will take to be among the contenders at the Junior World Cup and that they have the talent to be successful. This was highlighted by the Burras’ response after a 6-0 loss to Germany.  

“If we hadn’t have gone on this tour, that first time you come up against Germany could potentially be the quarter final of the Junior World Cup,” said Wells.

“The guys were overawed in that first match against Germany and we weren’t up for it that day. In the blink of an eye we were 5-0 down.

“Then 24 hours later we came back and drew 2-2 with them and probably should have won that game because we had enough chances to win.”

“There is now that belief that we can compete against those guys. To have that experience and take it into the rest of the year is crucial.”

“It was an opportunity to grow in our way of play and expose some newer guys to that, and also see where some guys sit in the bigger picture.”

“Moving forward, there will be other players who will get an opportunity later in the year before the Junior World Cup team is selected, so for us it was an opportunity to expose more athletes but also find the right combinations come the Junior World Cup.”

Match Results
12 June 2023
Belgium 1-2 Burras

13 June 2023
Belgium 2-2 Burras 2

16 June 2023
Germany 6-0 Burras

17 June 2023
Germany 2-2 Burras

19 June 2023
Netherlands 1-3 Burras

21 June 2023
Netherlands 3-3 Burras

Australia Hockey

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