Dwyer, Knowles named in Australian team for Hockey World League semifinals

World champions Australia have called up as many as seven Olympians in their 20-man squad for the upcoming men’s Hockey World League Round 3 (semifinals) tournament beginning from June 13 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Since the top three finishers of the tournament secure a berth for the 2014 World Cup, coach Ric Charlesworth has picked the best possible Kookaburras side, marking the return of three-times Olympian Mark Knowles, double Olympians Fergus Kavanagh and Eddie Ockenden along with London 2012 bronze medal winners Chris Ciriello, Matthew Swann, Simon Orchard and Kieran Govers.

Five times FIH World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer is also named in Ric Charlesworth’s side – Dwyer is also in line to make his 300th international appearance during the HWL.

Russell Ford, who turned in a decent showing in the recently held four-match Test series against South Korea on his comeback, finds a berth in the side.

Trent Milton, who was the top goal scorer in the Test series against South Koreas, was also named in the squad.

The team also includes several players who missed the Korea Test series owing to club commitments in Europe.

The likes of Matthew Swann, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Chris Ciriello gave the Test series a miss while Kieran Govers took part at the fag end of the series.

Australia lost the first to South Korea 1-4 in a penalty shootout at the Perth Hockey Stadium in Perth after both teams were locked goalless in regulation time.

The Kookaburras came out firing in the second Test, with local boy Trent Milton pulling off a superb hat-trick as they thumped the Redshirts 5-2.

The Aussies held the Koreans 3-3 with a later equaliser from Matt Williams, who made his senior international debut during the series.

Australia then wrapped up the series in style, crushing the Koreans 4-0 in the fourth and final Test. Trent Milton, Russell Ford, Kieren Govers and Rob Hammond scored for the Kookaburras.

Australia earlier won the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the record seventh time, edging out hosts Malaysia 3-2 in an absorbing final match.

At the Hockey World League semifinals in Rotterdam, Australia will be joined in Pool-A by world number seven Spain with the two remaining places in the pool yet to be allocated.

The Kookaburras will play two Test matches against the Netherlands at Rotterdam on June 5 and 7 before travelling to Antwerp to play a solitary Test against Belgium on June 9.

The squad: Kiel Brown, Joel Carroll, Andrew Charter, Chris Ciriello, Tristan Clemons, Tim Deavin, Jamie Dwyer, Russell Ford, Matt Gohdes, Kieran Govers, Rob Hammond, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Trent Mitton, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Glenn Simpson, Matthew Swann, Jake Whetton, Aran Zalewski.

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