Kye Rowles says the Olyroos are "here to win a medal" after arriving in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
The Mount Warrigal-born talent and his teammates have begun a pre-Games training camp, with their campaign kicking off against Argentina on July 22. The Australians will then face Egypt and Spain in their remaining group C games.
Rowles told the Mercury that it would be a tough group, but the Olyroos were up for the fight.
"You want to test yourself against the best in the world, that's what you're here for. If we do what we know what we can do and work hard together, we're in with a shot. And I don't think anyone has that Aussie spirit within like we do, which gives us an advantage I think," he said.
"We're here to win a medal, everyone is on the same page. As soon as we started our preparation for the qualifiers, we knew what the end goal was. And I believe it in firmly. That's our end goal and we're going to get there."
The Olympics' men's football tournament features under 23 players with three overage players eligible for selection. The Olyroos gained their spot in January 2020 when they defeated Uzbekistan 1-0 in the third versus fourth playoff at the AFC Under 23s Championships.
Rowles didn't play that game, but had a superb campaign for Central Coast this A-League season, playing 27 games on his way to winning the Mariners Medal and Players' Player awards.
However, the defender - who turned 23 last month - was shocked to receive the Games call-up from Olyroos coach Graham Arnold.
"I just focused on playing as best as I could for the team at club land. I knew if I did that and our team did well, I'd be in with some sort of shot," Rowles said.
"But it's unreal, a dream come true for sure. It's such an honour and privilege to be here with this group, it's something that's really special. You always dream about representing your country, especially at the highest level."
Settled in Tokyo, Rowles said the Olyroos camp had been a great success already.
"We've got a great group and we're making good progress. We started pretty light because it was a fair whack of travel for some of the boys. But we've had a few intense sessions and we're trying to get in rhythm with everyone. We've got a lot of time over here together, so I'm sure everyone will be on the same wavelength in no time," he said.
"You want to take in every bit of information and you're switched on to every word the coaches are saying, because they've been there and their knowledge is second to none. You have to soak it up as much as you can because there's a lot of it."
Rowles was born in Mount Warrigal before his family moved to Oak Flats. He then left the region when he was about six, but still remains connected to the Illawarra.
"A lot of my family still lives in Dapto and it's such a good community," Rowles said.
"I've had messages from people from Wollongong who just like seeing their people succeed. It's really friendly and a great area to be from."
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