The Kookaburras may be the number one ranked hockey team in the world and hot favourites for the upcoming Hockey World Cup, but those within the squad are preparing for a tight tournament in India.
The Kookaburras have swept the major tournaments throughout the past year, taking out last December’s World League Finals, April’s Commonwealth Games and June’s Champions Trophy.
However, Wollongong’s Flynn Ogilvie believes a loss to Argentina in the final of September’s Darwin International Hockey Open highlights how small the margins are between the world’s top teams.
“As the tournament’s throughout the year show, we’ve won them but there are plenty of teams close to us,” Ogilvie said. “We know there’s a lot of teams that can win it, so we’re not thinking about being favourites, we’re just going about our business.
“There are four or five teams that are really good, Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium are always strong as well. Then if you look at the Asian teams, India can do anything, if they play well they’re very strong.”
The competition will be Ogilvie’s first World Cup, with the Wollongong athlete looking forward to experiencing the biggest standalone hockey tournament in the world.
After missing much of 2017 with a serious hamstring injury, Ogilvie has been a mainstay in the Kookaburras side in 2018, featuring in the Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy triumphs.
The World Cup, however, is the tournament the side has been eyeing off for the entire year.
“Besides the Commonwealth Games, this is the biggest tournament of my career, so it’s pretty exciting.
“It’s been a long year of training and tournaments and this is the one we’ve been training for. It’s exciting to be named in the squad and I can’t wait to get over there.
“We’re heading over to India confident and we know when we play consistent, we’re very hard to beat. We pride ourselves on our defence, if we do that well, we’re usually good enough to put a few goals away and get the win. The key is consistency for us.”
Australia has been matched with England, Ireland and China in the pool stages. With a scare against England in the Commonwealth Games semi-final fresh in the Kookaburras minds, Ogilvie said they will be focused from the moment the team’s tournament commences on Friday November 30 against Ireland.
“Our first goal is to get out of the group phase and make the quarter finals. Finishing top of the group would be perfect and we’ll see what goes on from there.
“It’s an interesting group. We always have good battles with England, we only just beat them in the semis at the Commonwealth Games.
“Ireland are always physical and play a different style to the other European teams. And then China are a bit of an unknown, we haven’t seen them for a few years, so that will be tough.”