SYDNEY: Five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer will spearhead Australia's pursuit of hockey gold at next month's London Olympics, as it was announced on Monday.
The 33-year-old veteran, with 160 goals to his name, is heading for his third Games, and will surely be a valuable asset, as he was the man who scored the golden goal that earned Australia the Olympic title in Athens eight years ago.
“I'm so honoured to be named in the team,” 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; an Australian side that is ranked number one in the world and strongly tipped for Olympic glory.
Australia will be relying on the athleticism of the younger players and the experience of the older ones to help them to a second Olympic gold.
“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. It's good for us to have the young guys on the team too; we'll feed off their energy.”
Apart from Dwyer, more seasoned campaigners include Mark Knowles, Liam De Young, Eddie Ockenden, Des Abbott and Fergus Kavanagh.
The Kookaburras, under the direction of Coach Ric Charlesworth, are widely expected to repeat the success of previous Games, and it may be a point of interest to note that they are the only Australian sports team to win a medal at each of the last four Olympics.
“There is not much difference between us and the rest of the world,” Dwyer cautioned.
“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.”
Australia is placed in a tough Pool ‘A’, which includes Great Britain (4), Spain (5), Pakistan (8), Argentina (9), South Africa (12).
Australia’s Olympic squad - Des Abbott, Nathan Burgers, Matthew Butturini, Joel Carroll, Chris Ciriello, Liam De Young, Tim Deavin, Jamie Dwyer, Matt Gohdes, Kieran Govers, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Eddie Ockenden, Simon Orchard, Matthew Swann, Glenn Turner.