If you’re an Australian and you know a bit about hockey, you either first think about a fast-moving, exciting, tough and entertaining sport, or recall about THAT goal. The goal that united a country.
It was the goal, in the 2004 Athens Olympics against the Netherlands, that stamped the Australian men’s hockey team as one of the best in the world. It was the goal, from the stick of superstar player Jamie Dwyer, which sealed a Gold Medal for the Kookaburras in one of the most inspirational Australian victories seen at an Olympic Games.
The question now is, can Australia do it again and prove to the world that they are still the best?
The perfect opportunity awaits them to show that they are still a great side when the most prestigious Men’s event on the 2009 international hockey calendar begins tomorrow. From the 28 November to the 6 December, players from the top six international hockey sides will tough it out in the 20th ABN AMRO Champions Trophy at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne.
The Kookaburras’ Chances:
Australia, the defending champions of the trophy, will compete against teams from Korea, England, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands to find out who the best Hockey team is for 2009. And it is set to be one of the tightest and most hotly contested Champions Trophys of recent years.
For the first time since the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the Kookabuarras will be playing in a competition in front of their home crowd, which will be a major advantage for them. Their squad has a wide variety of experience and age. Brent Livermore, Liam De Young and Dwyer, still considered by many to be the best player in the world, have over 700 international matches between them.
But while most of the focus will be on Dwyer, watch out for some of the younger talent, especially young gun Eddie Ockenden, who is turning many heads already in short career so far. Ockenden is the second youngest player in the squad behind Matthew Butturini and with 84 international games of experience already under his belt at only 22, Ockenden is the future of Australian Hockey.
The Kookaburras are coming off a 1-1 series draw against Spain in Perth last week, with their solitary win an 8-2 thrashing. And after defeating Spain in last year’s Champion’s Trophy final, they’ll be looking to go back-to-back under new mastermind hockey coach Ric Charlesworth, considered by many to be the greatest ever Australian player.
Australia kicks off their Champions trophy campaign against Korea tomorrow at 3;05 pm. To view the rest of the schedule for the tournament, click here.
Seats to this spectacular event are being sold through Ticketmaster.
The advice in terms of transport is to avoid using your car and use Public transport. The Upfield train line stops at the Royal Park station, a short walk from the back of the venue. If you prefer to go by Tram, the #55 Tram to West Coburg stops at the State Netball & Hockey Centre. If you wish to drive, there are limited parking (200 spaces) at the venue for $10.