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McAleese returns for Azlan Shah defence

McAleese returns for Azlan Shah defence

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McAleese-returns-for-Azlan-Shah-defenceBlack Sticks Men’s head coach Colin Batch has named his side to defend their title at the Azlan Shah Cup

Black Sticks Men’s head coach Colin Batch has named his side to defend their title at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Black Sticks won last year’s event with a thrilling 3-1 result over Australia in a shoot-out and are looking for back-to-back titles at the tournament which runs from 7-17 April.

Fresh from series wins against Malaysia in Tauranga and Korea in Auckland, New Zealand head away with momentum and confidence.

Veteran midfielder Shea McAleese returns to the Black Sticks having last played international hockey nine months ago at the FIH World League Semi-Final in Argentina.

McAleese (221 caps) adds to an experienced core of players alongside Ryan Archibald (306) and captain Simon Child (253).

Following a successful debut series against Korea, Central midfielder Hayden Phillips will get his first taste of international tournament hockey.

Batch said the tournament is another opportunity to develop as a group with an eye on the Rio Olympic Games in August.

“We’ve given this group the opportunity to test themselves in a tough tournament situation and try to cement a spot for Rio,” he said.

“However, there is still a chance for all players to stake their claim as we continue to try and discover the best combinations.

“The addition of Shea adds experience and leadership to the group and he also brings a voice and organisation on the field which is something we need.

“Hayden showed some good signs in his debut series and he has been given the opportunity to test himself in a tournament situation. It’s a big step up and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

McAleese will join the Black Sticks team in Malaysia from Europe where he has been playing club hockey for Belgium side Braxgata.

After almost a year away from the international scene he is looking forward to helping the team push for another Azlan Shah Cup.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the turf with the Black Sticks and confident we can put together a good performance at the tournament,” he said.

“There is great depth within the group right now and some impressive talent so we are looking forward to continuing our fine tuning to make sure we are at our peak come Rio.”

All Black Sticks games at the Azlan Shah Cup will be broadcast live and replayed on SKY Sport, with their first test against hosts Malaysia on Thursday 7 April at 12:30am (NZ time).

CLICK HERE for more on the Azlan Shah Cup


BLACK STICKS MEN
AZLAN SHAH CUP TEAM

PLAYER NAME

REGION

POSITION

AGE

CAPS

Ryan ARCHIBALD

Auckland

Midfielder

35

306

Simon CHILD

Auckland

Striker

27

253

James COUGHLAN

North Harbour

Striker

25

48

Hugo INGLIS

Southern

Striker

25

165

Stephen JENNESS

Capital

Striker

25

143

Devon MANCHESTER

Auckland

Goalkeeper

26

71

Shea McALEESE

Central

Midfielder

31

221

George MUIR

North Harbour

Midfielder

22

47

Shay NEAL

Northland

Striker

25

62

Arun PANCHIA

Auckland

Midfielder

26

176

Hayden PHILLIPS

Central

Midfielder

18

4

Kyle PONTIFEX

Capital

Goalkeeper

36

166

Kane RUSSELL

Southern

Defender

23

64

Bradley SHAW

Canterbury

Defender

33

172

Jacob SMITH

Capital

Striker

24

44

Blair TARRANT

Southern

Defender

25

143

Nick WILSON

Central

Striker

25

146

Nic WOODS

Midlands

Midfielder

20

36

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2016-03-30T23:02:00+11:009530true

  • March 30th, 2016 in
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