Kookaburras to play Pakistan in Darwin

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The Australian men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras, will take on Pakistan in a four-test match series in Darwin at the end of March.

The International Hockey Open will be played from 28 March to 1 April at Marrara Hockey Centre.

Sport and Recreation Executive Director Phillip Leslie said the tournament will be competitive and entertaining for locals.

“Hockey is such a fast paced and skilful sport and having the opportunity to watch world-class players in action is very exciting for anyone that loves spectator sport.

“The Northern Territory has a rich history of producing top hockey players who have gone on to represent Australia with pride and I know Darwin’s passionate hockey community will embrace the Open and the opportunity to watch the Aussie Kookaburras in action.”

Hockey Australia said the Kookaburras were looking forward to playing in Darwin and know Pakistan will bring its usual fast paced and aggressive playing style.

“It’s very exciting for us to be able to have our first games of the year on home soil, and there’s sure to be some fantastic hockey played against Pakistan, because they are always a challenging opponent,” said Kookaburras Head Coach Colin Batch.

“They will have match practice however because they’re playing New Zealand in a five test match series, so they will certainly come into this series match hardened, whereas we will be starting fresh so that will be a challenge in itself.”

The Kookaburras will also visit local schools and host clinics to help promote the sport of Hockey and improve local player skills.

The Australian coaching team will also hold an education session with local coaches.

Hockey NT CEO Ian Harkness said local players and officials are grateful for the opportunities the International Hockey Open brings.

“Exposure and access to elite players and coaching is imperative to the development of the sport locally,” he said.

The first test match on Tuesday the 28 March is scheduled during the day and Hockey NT are encouraging schools to register their interest in sending students to watch the game.

“The designated School Day approach will see the Marrara Hockey Centre open the gates for the students and supporting staff to attend the event for free of charge.

“At this stage we have had interest from as far away as Katherine and it is hoped the attendance will generate a great atmosphere for the players from both teams,” said Mr Harkness.

The Northern Territory Stingers will also play Western Australia’s Men’s Under 18 team in curtain raiser games prior to each test match.

The year’s tournament is part of a 3 year sponsorship agreement (2016-2018) with Hockey Australia and the NT Government.

Series passes and match tickets are now on sale and available from http://www.ntix.com.au

Hockey Australia media release

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