Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Jamie Dwyer scores in record-breaking international return

Modified 05 Apr 2015
Jamie Dwyer in action during a comfortable win over Canada

Ipoh (Malaysia), April 5 (IANS)

In his record-breaking 322nd appearance for the Australian hockey team, veteran Jamie Dwyer showed that he is still as goal-hungry as ever, scoring the side's fourth goal -- and his 207th -- in a 7-0 trouncing of Canada in a match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament here on Sunday.

Olympic gold medallist and two-time World Cup-winner Dwyer went past former midfield maestro Jay Stacy's record of most number of matches. Stacy, who retired in 2000, played 321 matches.

In the opening match of the six-nation tournament, Tim Cross, making his debut for the Kookaburras, set things in motion with his first goal just 12 minutes into the match.

It was followed a minute later by young Dylan Wotherspoon's first goal in just his fifth appearance, putting Australia in the driving seat.

Despite the World Champions' dominance over the 15th-ranked Canadians, it remained 2-0 until shortly before three-quarter time when Eddie Ockenden struck a third.

As the match entered its final ten minutes, Dwyer struck to mark his return to senior international hockey in style after almost nine months away due to injury.

His last game, and last goal, came in June's World Cup final 6-1 demolition of the Netherlands with Dwyer not selected for the Commonwealth Games and ruled out of the Champions Trophy in December.

With the goal, the floodgates opened. Just 60 seconds later, forward Trent Mitton made it 5-0, closely followed by a Glenn Simpson penalty corner goal and a strike by Jake Whetton, who rounded off the scoring for 7-0.

Since his debut in May 2001, Rockhampton-born Dwyer, 36, has been at the forefront of the Kookaburras' most notable successes.

Named hockey's World Player of the Year five times, he is arguably best known for scoring the winning goal against the Netherlands in the 2004 Olympic final in Athens, which earned Australia's men's hockey team its first ever Olympic gold medal.

He has since gone on to help Australia win two further Olympic bronze medals in Beijing and London.

In all, Dwyer has played in four World Cup finals, twice winning gold and twice silver.

He scored a hat-trick in the final of the 2002 Commonwealth Games to help Australia to victory over New Zealand and was part of the team that won third and fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010.

"I'm very honoured to play one game for Australia, let alone be the most capped player. Jay Stacy was a bit of a role model to me and I looked up to him so much," Dwyer said in a release.

"So it feels a little bit weird to pass him but just playing for your country in general is amazing. I've been very fortunate I've played so many times."

On his target of playing in a fourth Olympic Games next year, Dwyer said, "I thought London was definitely going to be my last Olympics but now I'm obviously heading towards Rio.

"Whether I make it or not I'm not too sure, but physically I feel good and that's why I keep going."

Published 05 Apr 2015
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