Kookaburras Excited By ’Unreal’ FIH Pro League Crowds

Author: Ben Somerford

Kookaburras defender Matt Dawson cannot wait to return to his home state to play in the FIH Pro League against Spain on Saturday 2 March.

The Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos will travel to Sydney on Thursday, before playing Spain and the USA on Saturday (3pm AEDT, 5pm AEDT respectively) at Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre.

Dawson hasn’t played for his country in Sydney since the 2017 Oceania Cup which the Kookaburras won over New Zealand.

“We don’t get to play international Hockey in Australia very much,” Dawson said.

“This Pro League is being able to take it home to multiple states so that’s unreal.

“Being to play in New South Wales in front of family and friends is exciting. Hopefully we can put on a show.”

FIH Pro League matches in Australia have drawn big crowds so far, including a sell-out in Melbourne and almost 5,000 fans in Perth for the last double-header against Great Britain.

Dawson is hoping the Sydney public will get out and fill up Sydney Olympic Park for the double-header, as well as the 16-17 March matches against Argentina and New Zealand.

“It’s pretty unreal. The fact that Sydney gets three games is pretty special,” he said.

“Hopefully the fans can roll in for both of those weekends. We can put on a show and they’ll come back.”

 Both squads enjoyed a weekend off, allowing them to refresh after a busy start to the FIH Pro League.

“Obviously it’s been a pretty tough start to the Pro League, with back-to-back games then one every weekend from then on,” Dawson said.

“It’s been nice to be able to have an easy week and refresh ready for a big back-end for our home games.”

Upcoming opponents Spain have started the Pro League with two shootout wins over World Cup finalists Belgium and Netherlands, along with a high-scoring defeat to Britain.

Dawson said the Kookaburras were wary about the Spanish, who they’ve not faced since the quarter-final stage of the 2017 World League Final.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said.

“They’re in good form, scoring a lot of goals. It’s always going to be tough playing against them.

“We’re hoping for a big crowd in Sydney being the home state. We’re looking forward to lots of people being out there showing lots of support.”

The Sydney matches are made possible thanks to the support of Destination NSW.

Saturday 2 March 2019 – Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre

Kookaburras v Spain – 3pm, Hockeyroos v USA - 5pm
Gates open - 2pm

Click here to buy tickets from $30 for adults & $10 for children

All times AWST