Batch takes nothing for granted
Colin Batch made it very clear that he is taking nothing for granted as his team prepare to defend their title at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The Kookaburras may be ranked number one in the world, the reigning World League Final champions and the hosts of the 2018 Commonwealth Games but coach Colin batch insists a gold medal is definitely not a foregone conclusion.
Australia are the favourites for the men’s hockey title at the upcoming games on the Gold Coast, where the likes of India (ranked sixth), England (seventh) and New Zealand (ninth) are the main contenders.
The Kookaburras have also won every gold medal since hockey was introduced into the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
“Sport is sport. There’s never any certainties in sport,” Batch said.
“There’s some very good teams. We’ve got a proud record in the Commonwealth Games.
“We’re aiming high, there’s no doubt about that, but we need to be diligent along the way and focused on performing well and improving during the tournament.
“That’s what the Kookaburras are about. Hopefully we can perform.
“We’ve got some really experienced players but also some younger players who’ll experience a multi-sport events for the first time.”
Batch embraced Australia’s proud history at the Commonwealth Games but said the Gold Coast event was about the current group.
“It’s not a case of defending the Commonwealth Games gold medal,” he said.
“It’s about preparing to win a tournament and that’s the way we will approach it.
“We’re very mindful of that and taking it one game at a time, like we would any other tournament.”
The final 18-member Kookaburras team was announced on Friday and Batch said selection was very challenging after winning the Azlan Shah Cup, World League Final and Oceania Cup in recent months.
“Every selection is difficult,” he said. “We’ve got a strong squad and we’ve got a number of players who are unlucky not to be selected.
“That’s the way it’s been with the Kookaburras. We are number one in the world, we’ve got a lot of depth within our squad, there’s always some unlucky players who miss out.”
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games men’s and women’s hockey competitions start on 5 April. Planet Hockey will be providing regular updates on all the action.
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