Two new faces in Kookaburras squad

Kurt Lovett has forced his way into the Kookaburras squad with his form for NSW Pride in Hockey One

Uncapped duo Nathan Ephraums and Kurt Lovett have been rewarded for their outstanding hockey form during the past 12 months with selection for the Kookaburras.

Next year is is set to be a huge year for the Australian men's team, with the Tokyo Olympics and defence of the FIH Pro League title fast approaching.

Victorian Ephraums and Sydney-based Lovett both impressed as members of the national development squad and performed outstandingly during the inaugural Hockey One League.

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said the duo's performances warranted their selection in the 27-man squad.

"Kurt had a break out season in Hockey One," Batch said.

"He had a number of good games including in the finals and put his name forward in a way that we couldn't ignore."

Ephraums was named player of the tournament at the Sultan of Johor Cup in 2017 playing in Australia's Under 21 team, and has spent periods of this year training with the Kookaburras at their base in Perth.

"Nathan had some good performances in Hockey One but it is also what he has done over a period of time when he has trained with us in VAA (Visiting Athlete Agreement) opportunities, and he was also part of our build up for the Oceania Cup," Batch said.

The majority of players that helped Australia qualify for Tokyo 2020, won the inaugural Pro League and secured the world No.2 ranking have been retained.

Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden (358 caps) is a chance of competing at a fourth Olympics and breaking Jamie Dwyer's Kookaburras appearance record.

The final squad for the Olympics is expected to be announced in mid June.

Kookaburras: Jacob Anderson, Daniel Beale, Josh Beltz, Tim Brand, Andrew Charter (gk), Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Johan Durst (gk), Nathan Ephraums, Kieran Govers, Jake Harvie, Jeremy Hayward, Tim Howard, Tyler Lovell (gk), Kurt Lovett, Trent Mitton, Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Lachlan Sharp, Joshua Simmonds, Matthew Swann, Jack Welch, Corey Weyer, Jacob Whetton, Tom Wickham, Dylan Wotherspoon, Aran Zalewski.