Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thunderbolts poised for semis...

DIVISION One champions SSTMI Thunderbolts are already looking beyond the quarter-finals of the Milo Cup which will be played at the National Hockey Stadium today.
     The champions will meet MSP Pahang, in what should be an easy encounter, and Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman did not hold back his thoughts.
     “It’s not a question of being overconfident but I feel my team should have no problems making the semis,” said Wan Roslan.
     “Frankly I admire the Pahang team as they are building for the future. It’s just unfortunate that they drew the short straw and are up against us.
    “My instructions to the players is simple, make use of the chances, get a good lead so I can rest some players as we need them to be injury and suspension free for the semis.”
    While Thunderbolts had the easiest of the draw, the other three quarter-final ties are equally poised, despite three teams being from Division One.
    Former champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) are hoping to pull the rug from under the feet of Petaling Jaya Municipal Council in the other last eight.
    But they will be hard pressed in the first leg as they have two players ruled out due to suspension and another two carrying injuries.
    The two injured players are Adrian Andy and Syazi who suffered an injury that required nine stitches in the Division Two final against Politeknik KPM last Sunday.
    “With four players out, we need to come up with a game plan to contain our opponents for the first leg,” said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
     “A draw will be a good result and we have to play smartly and not open up our defence as PJCC are very good in their offensive play.”
    The match of the quarter-finals will surely be UniKL Young Guns against Politeknik KPM.
     UniKL have been blowing hot and cold throughout the Division One matches and if they continue to do so, they will surely miss out on a place in the semis.
    “We did some soul searching with the players and hope to perform up to our real standard in the knockout stages,” said team manager Mohamed Faiz Isa.
     “We are well aware of the dangers posed by our opponents who are on a high after winning the Division Two title.
   “On our part we have been playing well only in patches and that stopped short our dream of winning the Division One title. But we hope to change our fortunes starting tomorrow (today).”
     The other exciting match-up is between Malacca High School (MHS) and Olak-PKT that could swing either way.
     Although Olak are from Division Two, they played like a Division One side in the play-offs, while Division One side MHS have the capability to upset the form-book if given half a chance.
   MILO Cup -- Quarter-finals first leg: TODAY: SSTMI  Thunderbolts v MSP Pahang (4pm, Pitch I); Malacca High  School v Olak-PKT (4pm, Pitch II); Petaling Jaya Municipal  Council v Bukit Jalil Sports School (6pm, Pitch I); UniKL  Young Guns v Politeknik-KPM (6pm, Pitch II).
   Quarter-finals first leg: SUNDAY: Bukit Jalil Sports School  v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (4pm, Pitch II); Politeknik- KPM v UniKL Young Guns (4pm, Pitch I); MSP Pahang v SSTMI  Thunderbolts (6pm, Pitch II); Olak-PKT v Malacca High  School (6pm, Pitch I).
   (Note: All matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit  Jalil). 

De Young to play 300th game in Ipoh..

Hockey Australia has today announced the 18-athlete Kookaburras squad that will compete at next month’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. The announcement came on the same day that the 2014 men's national senior and development squads were named.

Three-time Olympian and Athens 2004 gold medallist Liam De Young is set to become only the fourth Australian to make 300 appearances for the Kookaburras after being named in the squad for the prestigious invitational Sultan Azlan Shah tournament. He will join Jay Stacy (321 caps), Brent Livermore (317) and fellow Queenslander Jamie Dwyer (308) as a member of the ‘300 club’.

Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden - a two-time Olympic bronze medallist and World Cup winner - will make his 200th appearance for the Kookaburras while Victorian Glenn Simpson will reach a century of matches for Australia. 

National Coach Ric Charlesworth makes eight changes from the Kookaburras squad that competed at the World League Finals in Delhi in January with several other significant milestones expected.

Darwin-born Jeremy Hayward will make his competitive senior international debut in Ipoh having impressed at the International Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth last October and at the Junior World Cup in Delhi in December. 

Western Australian Trent Mitton - a Commonwealth Games gold medallist - and Queenslander Jake Whetton will both play their 50th international matches. 

Five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer returns to the Kookaburras’ line-up having been rested for the World League Finals while there are also recalls for goalkeeper Andrew Charter, Simpson, Matt Gohdes, Rob Hammond, Mitton and Andrew Philpott, who has be elevated into the national senior squad for 2014. Penalty corner ace Chris Ciriello returns having been withdrawn from the World League squad after suffering a torn calf. In all, nine of the squad have recently returned from the Hockey India League, including Tristan White, who along with Gohdes, was a winner with the Delhi Waveriders in hockey’s premier franchise-based competition. 

Announcing the squad, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said, “The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is our last tournament before the World Cup and the squad has been picked with that in mind. 

“We’ve selected based on a range of objectives, including load management. We’ve got athletes that have played in the Oceania Cup, World League Finals and Hockey India League and we need to look after them with both the World Cup and Commonwealth Games coming up. Some people, like Jamie Dwyer, were rested for the World League Finals but now need to come back and play with the group.”

Gunning for a record eighth title as they defend their 2013 crown, the Kookaburras will face Canada, China, Korea, South Africa and hosts Malaysia in the 23rd edition of the competition. 

Charlesworth added that despite the recent withdrawal of Pakistan, the now six team tournament has the quality to test Australia. 

“It’s unfortunate that a couple of teams [Pakistan and France] had to pull out but the likes of Korea, Malaysia and South Africa in particular are quality teams that will be at the World Cup. The tournament format means that we’ll also have a few two-day rest periods, which is unusual in hockey but which we will experience in The Hague and at the Commonwealth Games so that too will be good preparation.”

Kookaburras squad for Sultan Azlan Shah
13-23 March 2014 - Ipoh, Malaysia
Athlete (Hometown, State) Caps/Goals
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 20/5
Nick Budgeon (Hobart, TAS) 14/3
Andrew Charter (GK) (Canberra, ACT) 54/0
Chris Ciriello (Melbourne, VIC) 125/69
Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD) 296/34
Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD) 308/200
Russell Ford (Melbourne, VIC) 143/69
Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 80/22
Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD) 239/28
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 0/0
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 224/18
Tyler Lovell (GK) (Perth, WA) 14/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 48/14
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, TAS) 199/51
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 9/1
Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC) 99/19
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 46/18
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 21/1

Kookaburras fixtures at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Date - Fixture - Result - Local time - AEDT – AWST
Thurs. 13 March - Kookaburras v China - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Sun. 16 March - Kookaburras v Canada - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Mon. 17 March - South Africa v Kookaburras - 16:05 - 19:05 - 16:05
Thurs. 20 March - Korea v Kookaburras - 20:05 - 23:05 - 20:05
Sat. 22 March - Kookaburras v Malaysia - 18:05 - 21:05 - 18:05
Sun. 23 March - Finals Day & Classification - 15:35 - 18:35 - 15:35

Upcoming Kookaburras matches and tournaments
13-23 March – Sultan Azlan Shah Cup (Ipoh, Malaysia)
17-19 April – Kookaburras v New Zealand (Two Tests) (Perth, Australia)
24-25 May – Kookaburras v England (Two Tests) (England)
31 May – 15 June – Men’s World Cup (The Hague, Netherlands)
23 July – 3 Aug – Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, Scotland)
13-21 December – Men’s Champions Trophy (Bhubaneswar, India)