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Rediff.com  » Sports » Defending champs Aus name 11 debutants in CWG squad

Defending champs Aus name 11 debutants in CWG squad

September 01, 2010 18:47 IST

Aiming to keep their perfect record at the Commonwealth Games intact, defending champions Australia on Wednesday announced a 16-member hockey squad for the October 3-14 mega-event in Delhi.

Australia will come into the Delhi Games as favourites having claimed the gold medal in every edition of the quadrennial event since hockey's introduction in 1998.

The Kookaburras have fielded 11 debutants in the squad.

Veteran Jamie Dwyer and Liam de Young will be participating in their third Commonwealth Games while Luke Doerner, Robert Hammond and Mark Knowles were part of the victorious Australia side at Melbourne Games in 2006.

Under coach Ric Charlesworth, Australia has won every major international tournament since January 2009, including the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi earlier this year.

However, Charlesworth sounded cautious and said the Kookaburras cannot afford to take any team lightly in the Delhi Games.

"We have had some great results over the past 20 months or so, however I still believe we are not solid yet and still have much to do. I have full confidence in the team we have selected as it has a good amount of experience and youth, however we will not get ahead of ourselves," Charlesworth said.

"We are the number 1 ranked team in the world, but I think that can give teams a bit more incentive when they face us. England are very capable of beating us as we saw at the World Cup. India and Pakistan will be at home in the heat of Delhi and with the reduced squad sizes makes things less predictable," he added.

Australia will also come into the event high on confidence after having registered its hat-trick of Champions Trophy title this year.

"We have great squad depth which is obviously what we are building towards, however it means that players need to make the most of their opportunities and the Commonwealth Games will give these players a chance to do that on a very big international stage," said Charlesworth.

Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive Perry Crosswhite said the country has high expectations from the team in the Commonwealth Games.

"It will not be easy but we know that if they do their best, as they did in 1998, 2002 and 2006, the 2010 Games tournament will be their hat trick for the year," Crosswhite said.

Team: Desmond Abbott, Nathan Burgers, Joel Carroll, Christopher Ciriello, Liam De Young, Luke Doerner, Jamie Dwyer, Robert Hammond, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Trent Mitton, Edward Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner, Jason Wilson.

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