Kookaburras co-captain Eddie Ockenden and Hockeyroos duo Jane Claxton and Kaitlin Nobbs are the toast of Australian hockey tonight after taking out the major awards on Hockey Australia’s night of nights.
Ockenden, who is six matches away from equalling Jamie Dwyer’s all time Kookaburras appearance record of 365, added to his decorated list of achievements after being named Kookaburras Player of the Year.
The Hockeyroos Player of Year saw joint winners, with Claxton and Nobbs sharing the honour.
At the ripe old age of 32, Ockenden was integral in leading and helping the Kookaburras claim the inaugural FIH Pro League title followed by an Oceania Cup triumph which saw the world number one ranked men’s hockey team qualify for next year’s Olympic Games.
“He (Eddie) has had a high quality year. He played well for us at important stages including our qualification for the Olympics and also in our performance during the Pro League,” said Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch.
“I think the interesting thing about Eddie is that although he is our oldest player, he continues to improve and perform at a high level and he is an inspiration to the other players in the squad.”
“Often we see an older player slowly diminish in form but that hasn’t been the case with Ed. What makes him outstanding at the moment is that he continues to get better and his game is evolving all the time.
“He works hard on the pitch at training and I think that is basis for any successful elite sports person, that it is the amount of work they put into the daily training environment.”
Claxton and Nobbs both enjoyed a standout year. The duo were ever present in a Hockeyroos outfit that made it through to the FIH Pro League Final, and were consistently impressive performers during the team’s Tokyo 2020 qualifying campaign.
“Kaitlin has had a breakout year. She came in at the start of the year really determined and got herself really fit which is the number one thing that really helped her,” said Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin.
“She has really looked after herself off the pitch and that has enabled her to perform at a high level on the pitch.
“We have always regarded her as a talent, but that talent has come to fruition this year and she was one of our best consistently this year.”
“Jane is someone who prides herself on work rate and effort and she has shown throughout this year that she has the ability to influence games at a high level.”
“She has scored goals, has been an important part of our midfield and it has been pleasing to see her progression.”
“Both Kaitlin and Jane have had support around them but they have performed at a high level consistently and that has really helped us get to where we are at the moment.”
Georgia Wilson received the inaugural Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Award for her work in raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing in a variety of ways, including having her own blog and sharing healthy recipes on her website. She is also an AIS 2019 Lifeline custodian.
Blake Govers took out the Kookaburras Top Goal Scorer Award after amassing 20 goals in 2019. He struck 12 times during the FIH Pro League, including a penalty stroke in the Final, scored three goals in the test series against India, once in a one off international against Japan and four times in the Oceania Cup.
Emily Chalker and Mariah Williams were dual top goal scorers for the Hockeyroos, finishing with eight goals each for the year.
There were also a host of milestones acknowledged on the night, with the most notables being Ockenden passing 350 caps, Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch reaching 200 appearances, Brooke Peris 150 and Flynn Ogilvie bringing up a hundred matches for the Kookaburras.
The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras squads will now head home for the Christmas break before returning to the High Performance setup in Perth to launch into preparations for Tokyo 2020.
Hockey Australia High Performance Awards 2019
Hockeyroos Player of the Year
Jane Claxton and Kaitlin Nobbs
Kookaburras Player of the Year
Hockeyroos Top Goal Scorer
Emily Chalker and Mariah Williams (8)
Kookaburras Top Goal Scorer
Blake Govers (20)
Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Award
Maddison Fitzpatrick (Hockeyroos)
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Hockeyroos)
Lily Brazel (Hockeyroos)
Jake Harvie (Kookaburras)
Tim Howard (Kookaburras)
Flynn Ogilvie (Kookaburras)
Brooke Peris (Hockeyroos)
Rachael Lynch (Hockeyroos)
Eddie Ockenden (Kookaburras)
Michaela Spano (Hockeyroos)
Amy Lawton (Hockeyroos)
Jack Hayes (Kookaburras)