Perth: Australia's national hockey coach Ric Charlesworth Monday announced an 18-man squad to defend the FIH World Cup to be held in The Hague from May 31 to June 15.
Hockey Australia (HA) believes that its selection panel has named the best balanced contingent as the Kookaburras look to successfully defend the gold medal they won at the 2010 edition in New Delhi.
Ten players from that world title winning side have been named for the 2014 campaign.
"It's as hard as it's ever been for me. 28 (fit athletes) doesn't go into 18. It's been a difficult process and there are two or three very unlucky people, some we just couldn't find a place for,” Charlesworth said.
Of the 2010 gold medal winning side, Liam De Young, Jamie Dwyer, Kieran Govers, Rob Hammond, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Matthew Swann and Glenn Turner will all make the trip to The Hague.
For Queenslanders Dwyer and De Young it will be their fourth World Cup, having also played in the Kookaburras' 2002 and 2006 silver medal winning campaigns. Knowles, Hammond and Russell Ford were also part of the 2006 contingent.
Speaking about his ambitions for the tournament, Charlesworth said: “As with every tournament we enter, we want to play in the main games at the end. To do that you need to hit the ground running and perform consistently."
Australia have won the World Cup on two previous occasions -- 1986 and 2010. Only Pakistan (1978 and 1982) and Germany (2002 and 2006) have successfully defended the title.
After arriving in The Hague, the team will face Argentina and Germany in two unofficial, shortened practice games before opening the World Cup against Malaysia May 31.
The squad: Andrew Charter, Chris Ciriello, Liam De Young, Jamie Dwyer, Russell Ford, Kieran Govers, Rob Hammond, Jeremy Hayward, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Tyler Lovell, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Glenn Simpson, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner, Jake Whetton, Aran Zalewski.