After a long and grueling preparation, this upcoming series against Korea looms as the Kookaburras final step in their bid to win back to back Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The teams form has increasingly improved throughout 2008, starting with a surprise tournament victory in January when a young Kookaburras team without their usual stars in Jamie Dwyer, Bevan George and Matthew Wells, defeated Germany, Spain, South Africa and the Netherlands during a 5 nations tournament.
This good form continued for the Kookaburras, winning both the Perth and Darwin 4 Nations tournaments against India, China and Korea prior to travelling to the Netherlands to compete in the 2008 Champions Trophy.
Overall five players (Des Abbott, Nathan Burgers, Kiel Brown, Fergus Kavanagh and Eli Matheson) made their Champions Trophy debuts at the tournament, with each player stepping up to help the Kookaburras defeat Spain in the tournament final.
With the Olympic squad now finalized, the Kookaburras will be looking to carry this recent good form into this three test series against Korea.
The Kookaburras have proven too strong for Korea in recent times, holding a 66% winning rate including victories from nine of the last ten matches.
While the Kookaburras recent form over Korea has been commanding, Korea have proven themselves to be no easy beats, pushing the Kookaburras on several occasions.
As the worlds fifth ranked men’s team, Korea will enter this tournament, and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, full of confidence.
While victory will be the objective for both teams during this series, a firm eye will remain on the upcoming Olympics.
Cairns looms as the perfect location for the Kookaburras’ final tournament before departing for Beijing, with the humid conditions expected to provide the team an opportunity to test their cooling strategies planned for the Olympics.
Saturday, 19 July 2008 Cairns Hockey Centre 2.00pm
Monday, 21 July 2008 Cairns Hockey Centre 2.00pm
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 Cairns Hockey Centre 2.00pm
Source: Hockey Australia