Kieran Govers emerges as outside chance of Commonwealth Games berth

Back to his roots: Kieran Govers is a chance of a Kookaburras recall after leading Albion Park to an Illawarra premiership. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
Back to his roots: Kieran Govers is a chance of a Kookaburras recall after leading Albion Park to an Illawarra premiership. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

Kieran Govers has returned to the Australian hockey setup with a new outlook on life after a tumultuous 2016.

Govers was controversially omitted from the Kookaburras Olympic squad after an injury-riddled year and made his thoughts on the team’s Rio failures known in a blog post following their quarter-final exit. 

However, Govers is now on the fringe of the country’s top squad after joining the development squad in October. He recently spent a week training and playing against the national team prior to their departure to India for the World Hockey League Final. 

“I went to Perth with another local boy, Jack Hayes, where we played for Australia A against Australia,” Govers said. “All reports from the coach were good, now I’m just waiting to hear back from the coach when they get back from India, to see what my future holds.”

The 29-year-old has had an illustrious career, playing 121 games for the Kookaburras and scoring 58 goals. He won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

The Kookaburras setup has experienced a high degree of player and coaching turnover since the early exit in Rio, with former vice-captain Colin Batch now in charge of the team. The 2018 squad will be announced in mid-December, moving those selected one step closer to a Commonwealth Games berth.

Govers has emerged as a shock contender following a dominant winter in which he led Albion Park to an Illawarra premiership and Sutherland to a Sydney premiership. While he is hopeful of selection, Govers will not be expecting to see his name on the list.

“The squad gets announced in a couple of weeks, hopefully I’m in it, but if I’m not, it is what it is.”

Govers said he has moved on following last year’s criticism and has no regrets about what he said.

“It probably didn’t go down too well. But that’s my personality, if I see it I say it. I say the truth when I talk and some people admired what I did.

“Some people thought it was a case of sour grapes but I’ve got no hard feelings towards anyone. 

“Obviously it was disappointing missing out on the team, but that’s the coach’s job, to select teams. I missed out, I’ve moved on and I’ve learnt from it.”

Following last year’s disappointment, Govers stepped out of the spotlight and sought more enjoyment from the sport. 

“I wasn’t in a good frame of mind, mentally I was pretty drained. I went back to Holland and played my third season with HC Den Bosch just to get back to loving hockey again. I had some fun, I was taking it seriously but I was also having some fun off the field and I was playing some good hockey.

“Life’s taken a good turn, obviously I’ve settled in with my partner now. We have a baby boy Leo who’s 12 weeks old. I’m just cruising the ‘Gong, it’s good to be back and settled. I’m going about my life, if they call me its great, if not, nothing really changes in my life.”