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Two new faces in Black Sticks men's squad

Saturday 22 Dec 2012 11:06 a.m.

(Photosport file)

(Photosport file)

Two uncapped players, defender Cory Bennett and teenage midfielder George Muir have been included in the 2013 Black Sticks men's hockey squad.

The North Harbour representatives join three others who have also been promoted from the development programme.

They are North Harbour midfielder James Coughlan, and the Auckland pair of defender Alex Shaw and goalkeeper Devon Manchester.

Shaw and Manchester made their Test debuts in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne in early December, a tournament Coughlan also attended.

Two others who were at the Champions Trophy, 34-Test defender Matt L'Huillier and debutant striker Jacob Smith, have missed out on the 25-strong Black Sticks squad and are in the development group instead.

Muir, an 18-year-old Auckland University law and commerce student, was surprised at his inclusion in the top tier.

When he received the email with the two squads, he began scanning the development list for his name, only to get the "pretty nice Christmas present" of seeing it higher up.

There is plenty of experience in the Black Sticks squad, with the likes of Phil Burrows, skipper Dean Couzins and Blair Hopping - all with more than 250 caps.

Two notable absentees are keeper Kyle Pontifex and Ryan Archibald, who have made themselves unavailable for the coming year.

Coach Colin Batch said the Champions Trophy - his first tournament in charge of the Black Sticks, who finished seventh of eight teams - gave him a chance to get to know the players.

"We have a lot of work to do next year to get the results we want," he said.

"I believe this group has what it takes. We just need to put in the hard yards."

Black Sticks men's national squad: Cory Bennett (North Harbour), Phil Burrows (Auckland), Marcus Child (Auckland), Simon Child (Auckland), James Coughlan (North Harbour), Dean Couzins (Auckland), Steve Edwards (North Harbour), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Andy Hayward (Midlands), Blair Hilton (Capital), Blair Hopping (Midlands), Hugo Inglis (Southern), Stephen Jenness (Capital), Devon Manchester (Auckland), Shea McAleese (Central), Hamish McGregor (Southern), George Muir (North Harbour), Shay Neal (Northland), Arun Panchia (Auckland), Richard Petherick (Midlands), Kane Russell (Southern), Alex Shaw (Auckland), Bradley Shaw (Canterbury), Blair Tarrant (Southern), Nick Wilson (Central).

Development squad: Joel Baker (Capital), Joseph Bartholomew (North Harbour), George Enersen (Canterbury), Sam Greaney (Central), Matt L'Huillier (Capital), Richard Joyce (North Harbour)

Dane Lett (Capital), Tom Loudon (Canterbury), Jared Panchia (Auckland), Dwayne Rowsell (Auckland), Nick Ross (Midlands), Jacob Smith (Capital).

NZN

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