Australian Hockey League: Hunter product Simon Orchard strives for maiden national crown with NSW Waratahs

FUTURE: Hunter product Simon Orchard, representing the Kookaburras at last year's Olympic Games in Rio, remains reserved about an Australian recall despite his recent state selection. Picture: Getty Images
FUTURE: Hunter product Simon Orchard, representing the Kookaburras at last year's Olympic Games in Rio, remains reserved about an Australian recall despite his recent state selection. Picture: Getty Images

Simon Orchard hasn’t ruled out getting back into the Kookaburras squad and playing a third Commonwealth Games but remains focused on claiming his maiden Australian Hockey League title with NSW.

Six months after being dropped from the green and gold the Hunter product was this week named in the Waratahs squad to contest the national titles in Perth later in the year.

Orchard says the annual tournament does present a window of opportunity to impress selectors and new Australian head coach Colin Batch but admits scoring a spot on the Gold Coast in April would be unlikely.      

“It definitely could be a chance,” the 30-year-old said.

“If I went there and played and tore it up, who knows what could happen.

“It has raised the question in my head, and I guess that’s the way to get back in, but I honestly don’t think it is. 

“That’s a long way down the track and it’s not something I’m really worrying about at the moment. 

“I’m just trying to get my body right and if I get my body right hopefully I can help NSW win the title.

“I haven’t won an AHL and we haven’t won one since 2005.”

The two-time AHL player of the tournament has played in two finals during his time in the state system across the past decade, but has yet to lift the trophy. 

Orchard, who took part in his second Olympic Games last year, was extended an invitation to represent NSW again by Waratahs coach Warren Birmingham.

This came despite only returning to the field last weekend, coming back for WA premier league team Fremantle following a four-month lay-off with an Achilles tendon injury suffered during his fifth Hockey India League campaign with the Punjab Warriors.    

Orchard said he expected to fly back home from his Perth base at some stage during the next few months to join NSW teammates for training or trials.

The 35-man squad also includes fellow Maitland player Ben Urquhart, Norths pair Matt Dawson and Nick Hill as well as Gosford quartet Liam Alexander, Ben Ferguson, Nick Holman and Robbie McGuire. 

AHL starts September 28.

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