Dwyer still going strong

Keep evolving, keep challenging: Aussie great

Dwyer still going strong

For him, age definitely is just a number. A household name in world hockey, the 36-year-old Jamie Dwyer is unstoppable when he is at his absolute best. Making inroads into the opposition defence, whipping in delightful passes and scoring spectacular goals has been his traits for over a decade now.

The Queenslander, who has played the sport in three continents during his career –Australia, Europe and Asia – believes that the different approach towards the game has helped him evolve with time.

“There are lots of differences. In Europe they are a bit more defensive, they rely a lot more on penalty corners. In India, they have a mix of flair players and some penalty corner strikers, while in Australia we try to have a bit of both. These changes have helped me in becoming a better player,” he remarked after his side’s win over Germany in the quarterfinal of the Hockey World League Final.

Dwyer admits it’s his desire to evolve as per the needs that has kept him at the top for so long. “Keep evolving, keep challenging. That’s the secret,” he said. “If you stand still people are going to get past you. I need to be on the front foot and make sure that I come up with new things.”

Dwyer’s journey has seen a few downfalls too. The biggest jolt came in 2014 when the then coach of the Kookaburras, Ric Charlesworth dropped him from his squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow stating he was past his prime.

“I had a lot of doubts obviously. I doubted myself. I even retired without telling anyone. I told my wife I might keep playing or maybe I won’t. That phase went on for a few months. It wasn’t nice.

“But I am glad that I am still here. I have had a pretty good year. I have played 28 games for Australia since then, scored 28. So I’m quite pleased that I have decided to continue playing,” said the five-time FIH player of the year describing the ordeal.

Though rivalries in hockey don’t come to fore too often, there are a few battles that give the sport its spicy edge. And the Australia-Germany battles are one among those.

“It has become a rivalry, and I have enjoyed them a lot. We don’t like the Germans and the Germans don’t like us. I think we played them in some big games at all the major tournaments. We have fought for the gold medal at all major tournaments. So that has to exist,” he said.

And winning one such battle here in Raipur, Dwyer will be keen to bow out on a high at the Rio carnival.

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