Players of the Year announced
Jodie Kenny & Eddie Ockenden take top honours at awards night
Jodie Kenny and Eddie Ockenden were the big winners at Hockey Australia’s glamorous Hall of Fame and Awards in Perth on Thursday evening, scooping the women’s and men’s Australian Player of the Year titles.
Penalty corner ace Kenny (pictured above) was a double award winner on the night as she picked up the Hockeyroos’ top goal scorer award courtesy of her 22 goal tally, while three-time Olympian Jamie Dwyer was crowned the Kookaburras’ top goal scorer with 16 goals.
Three legends of the game - Don Prior, Michael York and Nikki Hudson (née Mott) - were inducted into the Hockey Australia Hall of Fame, joining just 35 former players and officials who have gone before them.
One such former player and coach, Ric Charlesworth, was made a Life Member of Hockey Australia for his lengthy and ongoing commitment to the sport. Charlesworth was one of the inaugural members of the Hall of Fame inducted in 2008.
Her ten goal haul at the World League Semi Final in Antwerp, the Olympic qualifier, included four in one game against India and saw her crowned as the tournament’s top scorer. Just six months earlier she took the same accolade at the Champions Trophy in Argentina where the Hockeyroos lost in the final to the hosts on a shoot-out.
Speaking about Kenny, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said, “Jodie is one of the most outstanding central defenders in world hockey at the moment. Her ability to defend well and make tackles, coupled with her highly effective distribution of the ball makes her a complete player.
“Her specialty skill of the penalty corner drag flick is a very valuable part of our team’s armoury and with her goals this year she is someone who has proved her value to the team on many occasions. She has been incredibly consistent and that is down to her hard work behind the scenes. She has shown real diligence in making sure she has improved that part of her game, not just this year but over the past three years.”
No stranger to success, Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden has enjoyed another stellar year with the Kookaburras. At the end of 2014 he was named on a five-man shortlist for World Player of the Year, a title he narrowly missed out on to teammate Mark Knowles.
Since then he has been an ever present leader at the heart of a continually developing Kookaburras team, helping Australia’s men to qualify for next year’s Olympic Games courtesy of a first place finish at the World League Semi Final, and most recently, winning another gold medal at the Oceania Cup.
For top scorer Jamie Dwyer, 2015 marked a highly successful return to the Kookaburras team. He became Australia’s outright most capped player ever when he played his 322nd career international in April, against Canada at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
His eight goals in the tournament marked a return to form for the 36 year-old forward and earned him the tournament’s top scorer award. In June he finished amongst the highest scorers at the World League Semi Final where his tally of four goals was bettered by only three players.
Congratulating Eddie Ockenden (pictured below), Kookaburras Head Coach Graham Reid said, “He reads the game as well as anyone I’ve seen. He has such good all round skills, he’s world class. He’s someone who is reliable and calm, but some of the things he can do with the ball are incredible. From a point of view of just watching him play, the players enjoy his skill level and that ability to change a game.
“He’s got a great engine, too. He can run all day so he gets through a lot of miles. That’s another aspect of why he’s so good, he can be all over the pitch. You mix his ability to read the play with his ability to get there and I think that’s one of the key parts of his game. As a runner-up last year in the international player of the year awards, it just shows you the consistency he’s playing with as he’s getting older. He’s always threatened to do that and I love seeing it.”
On top scorer Jamie Dwyer, Reid added, “Jamie has scored some great goals this year. It’s been a good period over these last 12 months. Jamie and I had a good discussion after the Commonwealth Games, working out what he is really trying to achieve, what I need from him and what the team needs, and I think we’re in a good place where we both understand each other.
“We talked about him treating it more like he was a 19 year-old than a 36 year-old and that passion and him needing to play well and be up and about, but having the experienced head on his shoulders. He’s going along nicely, there’s still ten months to go [to the Olympic Games] and selection is still up in the air so the important part is we don’t get ahead of ourselves, and he’s not getting ahead of himself.”
There was also recognition on the night for those athletes that made milestone appearances with the presentation of pockets to those making their international debuts and those reaching 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 appearances for Australia.
There were special tributes to retired athletes Jayde Taylor and Russell Ford, who left the Hockeyroos’ and Kookaburras’ programs during the year, and to a number of former staff who departed Hockey Australia in the past 12 months.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Donald (Don) Prior is the best credentialled umpire produced by Australian hockey. In a career spanning 18 years at the international level, Don officiated at four World Cups from 1986-1998 and four Olympic Games from 1988-2000. Four of these major tournaments saw him in charge of gold medal matches. He was simply the best, and continues to assist with developing our umpires.
Michael York played 281 games for his country in a career spanning four Olympiads from 1988-2000. He won a silver (1992) and two bronze medals (1996, 2000) at the highest level. A quiet and unassuming man, he had consummate and easily expressed skills, especially his brilliant tackling and accurate passing. A more than worthy member of the Hall of Fame.
Nicole Hudson (Née Mott)
Nicole (Nikki) Hudson first played for Australia in 1993 and enjoyed a career spanning 303 games before her retirement in 2009. While the pinnacle of her achievements was undoubtedly a gold medal win at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, she won gold medals in a World Cup (1998), three Champions Trophies (1995, 1997, 1999) and two Commonwealth Games (1998, 2006). A fast and elusive attacking player who scored 99 times, she is clearly one of the most exciting players from an era of dominance for Australia’s Hockeyroos.
LIFE MEMBER INDUCTEE
Dr Richard Charlesworth
The contribution made by Dr Richard (Ric) Charlesworth to Australian hockey is simply unique. As a player, coach and mentor, his career is unparalleled in our sport. It is hard to conceive that we will see his like again. As a player he was selected for five Olympic Games, winning silver in 1976; he won World Cup gold (1986) and two bronze medals (1978, 1982) and was the Best Player at the 1986 World Cup. As a coach he led the Hockeyroos to two Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000), two World Cup golds (1994, 1998) and a Commonwealth Games gold (1998), amongst others. As Kookaburras coach he led the team to Olympic bronze (2012), back-to-back World Cup wins (2010, 2014) and a Commonwealth Games gold (2010).
FULL LIST OF AWARD RECIPIENTS
Hall of Fame inductee: Nicole Hudson (nee Mott)
Hall of Fame inductee: Donald Prior
Hall of Fame inductee: Michael York
Life Member: Dr Richard Charlesworth
Hockeyroos Player of the Year 2015: Jodie Kenny
Hockeyroos Top Goal Scorer 2015: Jodie Kenny (22 goals)
Kookaburras Player of the Year 2015: Eddie Ockenden
Kookaburras Top Goal Scorer 2015: Jamie Dwyer (16 goals)
Hockeyroos debutants: Laura Barden, Kate Hanna, Madison Fitzpatrick, Savannah Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Kershaw, Renee Taylor
Hockeyroos 50 games: Brooke Peris, Ashlee Wells
Hockeyroos 150 games: Anna Flanagan, Georgia Nanscawen
Hockeyroos 200 games: Teneal Attard
Hockeyroos 300 games: Madonna Blyth
Hockeyroos retirements: Jayde Taylor
Kookaburras debutants: Joshua Beltz, Tom Craig, Tim Cross, Matthew Dawson, Blake Govers, Leon Hayward, Flynn Ogilvie, Dylan Wotherspoon
Kookaburras 50 games: Daniel Beale, Tyler Lovell, Trent Mitton, Tristan White, Aran Zalewski
Kookaburras 100 games: Joel Carroll, Tim Deavin, Matt Gohdes, Kieran Govers, Glenn Simpson, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner
Kookaburras 150 games: Kiel Brown, Chris Ciriello, Simon Orchard
Kookaburras 200 games: Fergus Kavanagh
Kookaburras 250 games: Mark Knowles, Eddie Ockenden
Kookaburras 300 games: Jamie Dwyer (reached 300 games in 2014 but acknowledged in 2015 awards as unable to attend in 2014)
Kookaburras retirements: Russell Ford