The Tassie Tigers team for this weekends clash against the ACT Lakers is considered one of the strongest sides ever, being compared to the ground-breaking Tigers team who clinched the Australian Hockey League title in 2014.
The team features four currently capped Kookaburras, including Australian Captain Eddie Ockenden, as well as Jeremy Edwards, Josh Beltz and Jack Welch.
The list of nationally recognised players does not end there, with members of the National Development squad Kurt Mackey and Kieron Arthur also lining up for the Tigers on Saturday.
Recently retired Kookaburra Tim Deavin rounds out the list of those with international experience, and he will have the additional honour of having his international career celebrated with a lap in front of the home crowd on Saturday.
Given the talent level of the team, Coach Glenn Freeman is excited to have the Tigers playing on home soil for the first time since 2011:
“It’s wonderful to have the chance to watch the likes of Eddie Ockenden, Jeremy Edwards and Josh Beltz playing alongside our current crop of experienced AHL players,” he said.
“Playing in front of a home crowd is very exciting for the group, and it will give us that home ground advantage.”
Despite the team featuring international superstars like Kookaburras Captain Eddie Ockenden, Freeman believes the depth of the team is a great strength.
“My opinion is that the whole group is capable and we expect a high-quality game between the Tassie Tigers and Canberra Lakers,” he said.
“The Tigers are always prepared to work hard on the pitch and put opposition under pressure, our expectation is to continue this process and achieve a positive result for the game.”
The matchday squad features an array of local stars in incredible form, with Premier League Best & Fairest winners Nick Leslie and Sam McCulloch, as well as with 6x Premier League leading goal scorer Sam McCambridge.
Oliver Smith, 20 will be the lone debutant and brings winning form to the Tigers. Smith was recently named Premier League Player of the Finals for the second consecutive year, and was also one of the catalysts for Tasmania’s maiden Under 21 National Championship, scoring the winning penalty shootout goal to clinch the Gold Medal.
The Tigers playing squad of 22 was cut to 14 athletes ahead of the game, which made selection very difficult for Coach Glenn Freeman.
However, he believes that there will still be opportunities for those who missed out on initial selection.
“The selection process has been tough, which is a very good thing for Tasmanian hockey,” he said.
“This group, which includes our mainland-based players, has worked very hard during the leadup to AHL 2018. Naturally, with the tournament spanning over a four week period, there will be opportunities for our squad of 22.”
Tigers Team List
TAS vs ACT
Saturday, October 6, 7.15pm
Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Head Coach – Glenn Freeman
Assistant Coach – Andrew McDonald
Team Manager – Iain Meaney
Sports Scientist – Ben Scarlett
Doctor – Ian Middleton
Physiotherapist – Ben Hayes
Eddie OCKENDEN (C)
Grant WOODCOCK (GK)
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