Kookaburras ace makes tough call to quit

·2-min read

Veteran Kookaburras defender Matthew Swann has announced his international retirement just two months out from the Tokyo Olympics.

Swann, who has made 204 appearances for his country since making his debut in 2009, had originally planned to retire after the Olympics in 2020.

But the 12-month postponement due to COVID-19 combined with the fact that his wife is due to give birth to their first child on August 8 - the day of the Games closing ceremony - conspired against him.

The 32-year-old's retirement will leave a big hole in the Kookaburras' defence and robs Swann the chance of snaring an Olympic gold medal.

He took home bronze from the 2012 Games and has Commonwealth Games gold medals from 2010 and 2014.

With athletes forced to quarantine for two weeks upon returning home from the Tokyo Games, Swann would have almost certainly missed the birth of his first child if he had chosen to chase his Olympic dream.

"This was a decision that was made over the course of four or five months," Swann said.

"With Roos and I having our first child, we were hoping that quarantining would change or maybe the situation and state of COVID globally wouldn't be as dire as it is at the moment.

"It is sad but I will be cheering the boys on and thinking about being there, but at the end of the day I have made a decision that I think is the right one for my family.

"In 10 years I'm going to look back and still believe I made the right decision to be there for Roos, even though I'm not going to be there for my Kookas family, which is sad.

"But everyone has been fully supportive."

The Hockeyroos and Kookaburras will end their 14-month stint in the international wilderness when they take on New Zealand in a four-match series, starting on May 27 in Palmerston North.

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