Four Western Australian athletes have been named in Hockey Australia’s men’s squad for the up-coming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.
The Kookaburras will send an 18-member squad, which includes Olympian Aran Zalewski, Commonwealth Games champion Trent Mitton, goalkeeper Tyler Lovell and youngster Jake Harvie.
Australia is scheduled to play group matches with; England, Malaysia, India, Ireland and Argentina and will hope to feature in the Saturday, March 10 final, if they qualify.
Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch said: "We’ve got a very competitive group at the moment so each selection is tough. It’s a good position to be in.
"The team we’ve selected for Azlan Shah has a good mixture of experience and youth and some of the younger players will experience Malaysian conditions for the first time.
"We’ve retained a large number of the players from the World League Final but we welcome back Ogilvie, Mitton and Craig from injury.
"Mitton hasn’t played since the Oceania Cup in October, he was very good last year and we hope to get him back to that form.
Batch was excited about the opponents the Kookaburras will face at the Azlan Shah Cup and said there was plenty to be gained from the tournament, where they finished as runners-up in 2017.
"It’s a very competitive tournament,” Batch said. "This year it’s raised up a level again with Argentina being at the tournament, plus the hosts Malaysia and an Ireland side who we don’t play often.
"We’ll play Malaysia, England and India at the Commonwealth Games, so we’ll get a good look at them too.”
The Azlan Shah Cup will be Australia’s final competitive matches before the Commonwealth Games and Batch acknowledged it would help form selection for the final 18-member team for the Gold Coast.
"I think we’ve got a good mixture, not only in the 18 we’ve picked, but in our squad as a whole where we combine the experienced players in the group with our younger players,” he said.
"They’re learning quickly and we want to be able to perform every time we go out on the pitch, so that’s why Azlan Shah is important preparation for the Commonwealth Games.”
- adapted from original story via: hockey.org.au