Kookaburras Highlights For 2017
The Kookaburras enjoyed a strong year with several titles culminating in the side re-claiming their world number one ranking as they move on from missing out on a medal at the Rio Olympics.
Here we take a look at the highlights from the calendar year…
5. Kookaburras win International Festival of Hockey
Australia came up against New Zealand, Pakistan and Japan in Melbourne in November and barely let up throughout the International Festival of Hockey (IFOH), with three wins and 19 goals in the group. The Kookas had also beaten NZ twice comfortably in Bendigo, but the IFOH decider was a hard-fought affair, with Australia hanging on for a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Jake Whetton and Blake Govers.
4. Kookaburras qualify for 2018 World Cup
Australia were favourites to account for Egypt in the quarter-finals at the World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg so when they triumphed 4-0 it was no surprise, but the result enabled the Kookaburras to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar. The Kookaburras have a proud history at the World Cup, having won the past two in 2014 and 2010, and always expected to qualify. The achievement was arguably over-shadowed by a certain milestone.
3. The 300-game milestone men
Kookaburras stalwart Mark Knowles and Eddie Ockenden reached exclusive company in 2017, both bringing up their 300thcaps for Australia, joining only four others. Knowles brought up his 300th against Egypt at the World League Semi-Final in a 4-0 win over Egypt in July, while Ockenden notched up the milestone in a 2-2 draw with Germany at the World League Final in December. The milestone is an achievement of excellence and longevity.
2. Kookaburras win another Oceania Cup
Australia’s commanding 6-0 victory over New Zealand in the Oceania Cup Final in Sydney in October marked 10 straight continental success for the Kookaburras. It was also part of a dominant period of wins over their Trans-Tasman rivals. The Black Sticks were down a few troops, but Australia were outstanding during the tournament, scoring 5-1 and 6-0 wins over the Kiwis, as well as a comprehensive win over Papua New Guinea. Tom Wickham and Aran Zalewski grabbed doubles in the final too.
1. Kookaburras crowned World League champions
Australia re-claimed their world number one ranking after triumphing at the World League Final in Bhubaneswar, with Blake Govers’ late penalty corner sealing a 2-1 win over Rio Olympics gold medallists Argentina in the decider. The Kookaburras had drawn all three pool matches, before finding form at the right time in the knockout stages, with wins over Spain, Germany and the Argentines. Govers was a stand-out with five goals, while Jeremy Hayward hit four in trademark style.