Batch calls for Kookas consistency against reigning Olympic champs

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Confidence is high but Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch wants more consistency from his playing group when they host Argentina in two highly anticipated FIH Pro League matches at the Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University tomorrow and Saturday.

Despite securing four out of a possible six points in their two matches in their recent trip to India, which is more points than any other side has secured in the subcontinent so far this year, Batch knows the Kookaburras were guilty of letting their opponents back into both matches.

This has given the 2019 FIH Coach of the Year and his coaching staff something to ponder, with Batch set to welcome a number of players back into the fold and also make some personnel changes from Friday to Saturday in an attempt to discover the depth in the squad.

“Even though we will have some changes from match one to match two, I want to see some consistency in our performances, both individually and as a collective,” said Batch.

“If we go ahead in a game, we need to deal with those situations better than what we have done in the past, and if we happen to find ourselves behind, we are confident we have a plan and a style that can overcome that.

“We have got a lot of confidence within the group but we still need to execute and that is what this weekend is about.”

From the team that played in India, Matt Swann, Flynn Ogilvie and Josh Simmonds are all inclusions for the opening match against Argentina, who are the reigning Olympic gold medallists, while Tom Craig and Jacob Anderson will not be considered due to injury.

Jake Whetton is another who will miss the matches after suffering a hamstring injury in the second match against India.

On a positive note, Batch hinted that Blake Govers, the Pro League’s leading goal scorer last year, could come into contention for Saturday’s match in what would be his first appearance since tearing his adductor playing in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League back in late October.

“It is always a challenge for a player who has had a long term injury, and for Blake it was disrupted by the summer break, so he hasn’t played much hockey since the injury,” said Batch.

“It’s difficult to pick the pace of the game up when you first come back, but I think Blake is capable of it. He has been training well, so he will be very keen to play.”

Coming up against a largely experienced Argentinian team who have scored 18 times in their six Pro League matches this campaign, Batch believes the matches against the South Americans will be vastly different to what the Kookaburras faced against India.

“Argentina can be very direct and break really quickly from defence, but at other times they like to slow the game down, so we’ve got to make sure we play at the tempo that we want to play at,” said Batch.

“Just like India, Argentina is in our pool at the Olympics, so it is important that we have two good matches against them.”

While Batch will take his normal place in charge for Friday’s game, he will be absent on Saturday as he attends his son’s wedding. Assistant Coach Anthony Potter will take the reigns in Batch’s absence, together with fellow assistant Rob Hammond.

The Kookaburras will wear a special Indigenous playing kit for the matches against Argentina as part of Hockey Australia’s Indigenous themed weekend which will celebrate the contribution of past and present Indigenous Australian players.

Tickets are available through Ticketek.

Both of the Kookaburras’ matches against Argentina can be seen LIVE on Kayo and Fox Sports. There will also be LIVE Twitter coverage on the official Kookaburras Twitter account.

Australia v Argentina – FIH Pro League 2020 Match Details
Friday 6 March, Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
Hockeyroos v Argentina (6:00pm local)
Kookaburras v Argentina (8:30pm local)

Saturday 7 March, Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
Hockeyroos v Argentina (4:00pm local)
Kookaburras v Argentina (6:30pm local)

Kookaburras v Argentina – Overall Record
Played 54; Won 41, Drawn 4, Lost 9

Official FIH match pages: Match 1 | Match 2

Kookaburras team v Argentina – Match 1 (6 March 2020)

Name (Number) Date of Birth Hometown, State Hockey One Team Caps (Goals)
Daniel Beale (23) 12/02/1993 Brisbane, QLD Brisbane Blaze 175 (28)
Tim Brand (29) 29/11/1998 Chatswood, NSW NSW Pride 39 (16)
Andrew Charter (gk) (30) 30/03/1987 Canberra, ACT Canberra Chill 180 (0)
Matthew Dawson (6) 7/04/1994 Killarney Vale, NSW NSW Pride 138 (12)
Nathan Ephraums (7) 9/06/1999 Keysborough, VIC HC Melbourne 2 (0)
Jake Harvie (4) 5/03/1998 Dardanup, WA Perth Thundersticks 68 (3)
Jeremy Hayward (32) 3/03/1993 Darwin, NT Tassie Tigers 155 (64)
Tyler Lovell (gk) (24) 23/05/1987 Perth, WA Perth Thundersticks 144 (0)
Kurt Lovett (18) 15/01/1997 Parkes, NSW NSW Pride 3 (0)
Eddie Ockenden (11) 3/04/1987 Hobart, TAS Tassie Tigers 364 (71)
Flynn Ogilvie (22) 17/09/1993 Wollongong, NSW NSW Pride 107 (21)
Lachlan Sharp (1) 2/07/1997 Lithgow, NSW NSW Pride 48 (11)
Josh Simmonds (15) 4/10/1995 Melbourne, VIC HC Melbourne 17 (0)
Matthew Swann (20) 16/05/1989 Mackay, QLD Brisbane Blaze 202 (7)
Corey Weyer (3) 28/03/1996 Biggera Waters, QLD Brisbane Blaze 41 (3)
Tom Wickham (5) 26/05/1990 Morgan, SA Perth Thundersticks 52 (22)
Dylan Wotherspoon (26) 9/04/1993 Murwillumbah, NSW Brisbane Blaze 91 (32)
Aran Zalewski (17) 21/03/1991 Margaret River, WA Perth Thundersticks 189 (25)