The world number two ranked Australia men’s hockey team will resume their preparations for the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) semifinals with a four-match Test series against South Korea at the Perth Hockey Stadium in Perth beginning on Friday.
The Kookaburras will play the second Test on May 5, while the third Test will be held on May 7. The fourth and final Test will be played on May 9.
Perth will host all the four matches.
The Australians, coached by five-times Olympian Ric Charlesworth, are expected to hand senior international debuts to five rookies – Tasmanian Jeremy Edwards, Western Australian Tyler Lovell, Victorian Andrew Philpott, South Australian Tom Wickham and New South Wales’ Matthew Willis (NSW) during the four match series.
The Test series marks Kookaburras’ first competitive action since winning a record seventh Sultan Azlan Shah crown last March.
At the Ipoh tourney, Aussies blooded three debuntants – Queensland Daniel Beale, New South Wales’ Josh Miller and Victorian Dan Mirecki.
The yellow-and-gold brigade have a number of international assignments lined up. Besides the Hockey World League semifinals, the Aussies will feature in the Oceania Cup, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the World Cup among others.
The Kookaburras would be missing quite a few regular players owing to the European club commitments, but would be boosted by the return of experienced players like Jamie Dwyer, Liam De Young, Glenn Turner, Kiel Brown, Russell Ford and Jason Wilson.
The South Korean men – ranked eighth in the world, are coached by former German and Malaysian coach Paul Lissek.
The Koreans can take a lot of heart from that 3-3 draw against Australia at the 2012 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in the upcoming four-match Test series.
South Korea had finished fourth in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where they lost 1-2 to New Zealand in the bronze medal play-off tie.
The red brigade managed to win just one game in the league phase, drawing two and losing as many games. Their only win came over India whom they pipped 2-1. They lost 2-3 to Malaysia, 0-3 to New Zealand before drawing 2-2 with Pakistan.
Australia will feature in the first Hockey World League semifinals slated to be held in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) from June 13-22 – they would be pitted against sides like Olympic silver medallists Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and India.
South Korea will take part in the second Hockey World League semifinals slated to be held in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) from June 29-July 7 – they would be pitted against sides like Olympic champions Germany, England, Pakistan, hosts Malaysia and Argentina.
It may be worth recalling that the Perth Hockey Stadium had recently hosted the four-match Test series between the South Korea and Australian women.
The series ended with both team sharing the honours winning two matches apiece.
The Hockeyroos won the opening Test 4-2 before the South Koreans won the second Test 2-1.
Australia clinched the third Test 6-0 before South Korea won the final Test 3-1.