Kookaburras aim for last laugh in London
18 June 2012
The Kookaburras are the number one team in the world and over the past few years have accrued nearly every possible accolade there is. But this July they are ready to trade it all in for one thing – Olympic gold.
Under the guidance of arguably the world’s best coach Ric Charlesworth, the Kookaburras have gone from strength to strength in the last four years since settling for bronze in Beijing.
With a big squad deep with talent, Charlesworth had a huge task of naming just 16 players to represent Australia in London.
“The team we’ve picked is the best guess we could make at the moment,” Charlesworth said. “We’ve got four or more athletes under injury clouds but I’m confident in the team we’ve picked and we’ve got a few weeks to prepare.”
Despite the injury setbacks, Charlesworth is positive about his team’s ability to top the podium in London.
“When our team is playing at its best they can win. We can beat any team. But the Olympics is an endurance event. You need to play seven games in 13 days and that is a tough challenge, you never know what you’re going to get.”
Headlining the team will be Jamie Dwyer, winner of five World Player of the Year awards – a feat unmatched by anyone else in history.
The 33-year-old Queenslander is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Aussie side and is a veteran of two Olympic campaigns already, having scored the golden goal in Athens eight years ago.
“I’m so honoured to be named in the team,” 33-year-old Dwyer said. “The Olympics only come around every four years and it’s such a long road to get there, it’s really a fantastic feeling.”
Dwyer will lead a team of 16 to London, with 10 Olympic debutants under the guidance of six experienced athletes with nine Olympic Games between them.
“We’ve got a few experienced guys on the team,” Dwyer said. “The young guys look up to us and come to me for advice and that’s good. I’ll try not to over-do it and not under-do it as well. It’s good for us to have the young guys on the team too, we’ll feed off their energy.”
The Kookaburras may be in the best form possible but they know that Olympic gold is not going to be easy.
“There is not much difference between us and the rest of the world,” Dwyer said.
“The competition is so close and it sure isn’t easy to be at the top of the game. At the Olympics it all comes down to the last two games so it can be anyone’s. We’ve got a good team though, we’ve prepared really well and we are fit - I know we can do it.”
Hockey will take place at the Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park with the men’s competition getting underway on Day 3 of the Games - 30 July.
Australian Olympic Committee