Matt Gohdes was the only Rockhampton hockey star named in the Australian Kookaburras squad.
Matt Gohdes was the only Rockhampton hockey star named in the Australian Kookaburras squad.

Gohdes is flying flag for Cup

Matt Gohdes will fly the flag for Rockhampton in the Australian Kookaburras first hitout of 2011 early next month.

Ghodes has been named in a vastly different Australian squad to that which conquered everything before them in 2010. Fellow Rockhampton products Mark Knowles and Jamie Dwyer were unavailable.

A combination of injuries, player unavailability and blooding some new talent has seen Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth name his 18-man squad for the Azlan Shah Cup, which will be played in Malaysia from May 5-15.

Long-term injuries to key players including four-time world player-of-the-year Dwyer, dominant striker Des Abbott, Graeme Begbie (voted Kookaburras player of the year in 2010), Kieran Govers (2010 world cup gold medallist) and Joel Carroll (2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist) sees them ruled out for the Azlan Shah.

Knowles, Eddie Ockenden, Rob Hammond, and Luke Doerner are also unavailable due to club commitments in the Netherlands.

Despite the loss, the Kookaburras still have a very strong side led by co-captain Liam De Young and the likes of Jason Wilson, George Bazeley, Brent Dancer, Glenn Simpson and Mark Paterson, all of whom have recently been based in Europe.

With the 2012 London Olympics drawing closer and with the team having not competed since October last year due their hectic schedule in 2010 – which saw them become the first team in history to win the Champions Trophy, World Cup and Commonwealth Games in the one year – the Azlan Shah Cup presents a great opportunity for the Kookaburras to regroup and continue their dominant form towards London.

On a positive note, two new players (Andrew Charter and Jacob Whetton) will make their debut for Australia, adding to the incredible depth that already exists in the Kookaburras under the guidance of Charlesworth.

“Depth in your squad is important for any team that wants to be successful, because there will always be situations where players are unavailable for various reasons, as has happened at this tournament,” Charlesworth said.

“It's important that players can step in and not feel out of place and know all of the team structures and game plan, and I'm extremely confident that we have the depth to cover the players who won't compete at the Azlan Shah Cup.

“We showed last year that we have great depth by the fact that we were able to play several different players across the many tournaments we played last year and it didn't affect the strength of our team.”

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