Home / World News / Hockey One: Comm Games gold medallist Josh Simmonds preps for relaunched national competition with Hockey Club Melbourne

Hockey One: Comm Games gold medallist Josh Simmonds preps for relaunched national competition with Hockey Club Melbourne

Kookaburras’ defender Josh Simmonds has had the year of his life.

The 26-year-old is back in Melbourne this week to prepare for the long-awaited return of the Hockey One national competition, following a dominant Commonwealth Games where he was part of the undefeated Australian team.

Simmonds and the Kookaburras backed up their Olympic silver medal in Tokyo by demolishing India 7-0 in Birmingham final to take a seventh straight gold.

“The silver medal in Tokyo was unbelievable but, at the same time, bittersweet, because you obviously want gold,” Simmonds said.

Commonwealth Games - Birmingham 2022.
Camera IconJosh Simmonds helps keep the Aussies’ blemishless Comm Games final in tact during the 7-0 win over India. Corbis/Getty Images Credit: Supplied

“And then, in Birmingham, we’ve always matched up pretty well against India, we’ve always had success with our style against them, so we definitely went in with confidence and knew exactly what we needed to do — but we didn’t expect it to be 7-0.”

After a two-week holiday with his partner in Italy, Simmonds’ focus has now shifted to a leadership role with Hockey Club Melbourne.

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He says it’s good to finally get back to the national competition, after it was ravaged by Covid in 2020 and 2021.

The revamped competition had launched in 2019 and the early signs were positive, but it’s back to square one following the two-year Covid-enforced hiatus.

He returns to Hockey Club Melbourne as one of its key players and feels a responsibility to bring on the next generation of players.

“I’ve played 50 games for Australia but there’s players who have played 200 or more, so I’m not as experienced as them internationally, but when you come back into a Hockey One environment you’re seen more as a leader who can give advice and someone the younger guys look up to more, just like I look up to someone like (Kookaburras’ legend) Eddie (Ockenden),” he said.

“It’s a different mindset and more responsibility.

“I made my state debut at 19 and had people like (HCM captain) Russell Ford and (former Kookaburra) Chris Ciriello who took me under their wing,” the Ringwood local, who plays his club hockey for Victorian Premier League side Doncaster, said.

“It’s a natural process. It’s now my turn to help a young guy who is still learning their craft and growing as a player.”

Hockeyroos’ young gun Amy Lawton headlines the women’s squad, with star veteran goalkeeper Rach Lynch, who recently retired from international competition, to lead.

“It has been a tough few years for our Victorian athletes and we’re excited to get these players back out on the pitch, playing in a high performance environment,” women’s coach Phil Burrows said.

“There’s some great competition in the Hockey One league and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Simmonds earmarked a quartet of young guns, as well as fellow Birmingham gold medallist Nathan Ephraums as men’s players to watch.

Josh Simmonds with his Olympic silver medal. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconJosh Simmonds with his Olympic silver medal. Supplied Credit: Supplied

“Midfielders Jake Sherren and Max Hendry are in the national system and Connor Otterbach is the next young gun defender coming through Victoria,” he said.

“Liam Henderson, he’s made the U21 Australian squad and he’s 18 and he’s a very, very good striker — young athletic, can score a goal from anywhere.

“And then obviously we’ve got Nathan Ephraums, he was in Birmingham and scored plenty of goals, he’ll definitely be one to watch.”

Men’s coach Lachlan Anderson: “We made some really tough selection calls but I’m proud of the group we’ve put forward and believe it’s a great mix of talent from national players to the top players in our Victorian premier league teams,” Anderson said.

HCM plays its season openers against NSW Pride on September 29 at its home in Parkville.

Full Squads


Megan Alakus, Footscray, DEF

Krissy Bates, Camberwell, MID

Hannah Cotter, Hawthorn, STR

Olivia Downes, Essendon Hockey, STR

Gracie Geddis, Mentone, DEF

Hannah Gravenall, Hawthorn, MID

Emily Hamilton-Smith, Southern United, DEF

Nicola Hammond, Doncaster, MID

Carly James, Footscray, DEF

Bridget Laurance, Hawthorn, GK

Amy Lawton Southern United, MID

Josie Lawton, Southern United, DEF

Rach Lynch (C), Greensborough, GK

Anna Moore, Melbourne University, MID

Joanne Peeters, Camberwell, MID

Madi Ratcliffe, Doncaster, STR

Ciara Utri, Essendon Hockey, MID

Ash Utri, Essendon Hockey, STR

Rosario Villagra, Footscray, STR

Zali Ward, Essendon Hockey, MID


Kiran Arunasalam, Doncaster, STR

Josh Bretherton, MCC, MID/DEF

Jonno Bretherton, MCC, DEF/MID

Doug Buckley, MCC, DEF

Cooper Burns, Altona, STR

Eden Davis, Camberwell, MID/STR

Johan Durst, Hawthorn, GK

Nathan Ephraums, Southern United, STR

Russell Ford (C), Doncaster, STR

Liam Henderson, Camberwell, STR/MID

Max Hendry, Camberwell, MID/STR

Craig Marais, Southern United, STR

Connar Otterbach, Altona, DEF

Jayshaan Randhawa, Doncaster, DEF

Jake Sherren, Camberwell, STR/MID

Josh Simmonds, Doncaster, DEF

Jed Snowden (GK), Essendon Hockey, GK

Damon Steffens, Waverley, DEF

Lachlan Steinfort, Waverley, DEF/MID

Trent Symms, Southern United, DEF

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