Simon Orchard leads Hunter representatives in NSW squads for Australian Hockey League | photos

Simon Orchard has been given one final chance to impress selectors and regain his Kookaburras spot for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.   

The 30-year-old, dropped from the national program shortly after his second Olympic campaign in Rio last year, was one of four players from Newcastle and Hunter named for the NSW Waratahs on Wednesday.

Orchard and current Kookaburra Matt Dawson are set to line up in blue uniforms at the Australian Hockey League in Perth from September 28 while Nick Hill (Norths) and Ben Urquhart (Maitland) are also included in the preliminary 35-man squad.

They will be joined by Gosford quartet Liam Alexander, Ben Ferguson, Nick Holman and Robbie McGuire. 

The state women’s squad features Hockeyroos representative Mariah Williams, who has been ruled out of this month’s World League semi-final series and World Cup qualifier in Belgium with an adductor injury.

Oxfords goalkeeper Jessica Parr and Avoca Beach forward Emma Spinks also made the Arrows cut following NSW Championships on the weekend. 

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Meanwhile, the NSW under-21 and NSW Country squads were also announced on Wednesday.

Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League players in the state men’s under-21 team included Rhiley Carr (Gosford), Brinley Gallagher (University), Ehren Hazell (Souths), Sam Mudford (Wests) and Rory Walker (Norths).  

Newcastle District Women’s Hockey Association premier league players in the state women’s under-21 team included Jasmine Etheridge (Tigers), Grace Jeffrey (Central), Georgia Radcliffe (Gosford), Spinks (Avoca Beach), Adamstown’s Kendall Steel and Neva Williams (Tigers).

In terms of NSW Country caps Jacob Dearing (Maitland), Ferguson (Gosford), John Fernance (Souths), Tristan Hunt (Souths), Walker (Norths) and Luke Witchard (Souths) were picked in the men’s group while Kate-Jane Kelly (Regals) made the women’s crew.  

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