Knowles ’Highly Driven’ To Go Out With Comm Games Glory
Retiring Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles says he remains as driven as ever to finish his decorated international career on a high at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Knowles confirmed he would retire from international hockey after the Gold Coast Games in April where the Kookaburras are chasing a sixth straight gold medal.
The 33-year-old has been part of three of Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning sides and is determined to finish with another in his home state.
“I’m highly driven, I’ve been like this for my whole career,” Knowles said.
“I’ve set extremely high standards for myself, for my team and for our sport.
“When I told my Mum for example, she said ‘why did you do all that running every day at Christmas’ and I said ‘Mum I still want to be the best player in the world and I still want to be the best captain for the Kookaburras until April’.
“My standards are still extremely high and this allows me to enjoy the next 60 days to provide, shape and give more feedback to players who I won’t be around anymore.”
Knowles and the Kookaburras left Australian shores for Malaysia over the weekend for the Azlan Shah Cup which will be the side’s preparation before the Commonwealth Games.
The Kookaburras skipper acknowledged there would be pressure on Australia to claim another gold medal but the group was ready to embrace it.
“I think it always is for hockey in Australia. Olympics and Commonwealth Games we’ve always wanted to be high achievers,” he said.
“We definitely have a team and group who are good enough. The hardest thing is being at your best when it’s required.
“We didn’t do that in 2016 (Olympics) and that was a huge disappointment for me and the group.
“This new team is finding its own identity, we’re good enough but you have to play well in those moments.”
Australia will open their Azlan Shah Cup campaign on Saturday against England from 9pm AEDT, with the game televised on Fox Sports.
The Kookaburras’ team for the Commonwealth Games will be named after the Azlan Shah Cup in mid-March.
Kookaburras’ Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Fixtures:
Saturday 3 March 9pm AEDT - Australia v England - Delayed On Fox Sports
Sunday 4 March 11:30pm AEDT - Malaysia v Australia - Delayed On Fox Sports
Tuesday 6 March 9pm AEDT – India v Australia - LIVE ON FOX SPORTS
Wednesday 7 March 7:05pm AEDT – Australia v Ireland - LIVE ON FOX SPORTS
Friday 9 March 7:05pm AEDT – Argentina v Australia - LIVE ON FOX SPORTS
Saturday 10 March TBC – Finals