Kookaburras make Commonwealth Games history in staggering feat

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Kookaburras players Tim Wicken, Eddie Ockenden and Jake Harvie celebrate Commonwealth Games gold.
Commonwealth Games history was written by the Kookaburras in Birmingham as they won their seventh consecutive hockey gold medal. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Australia have asserted their utter dominance in Commonwealth Games hockey, with the Kookaburras winning a seventh gold medal to maintain their perfect record since hockey's introduction in 1998.

After a semi-final scare against England, the Kookaburras returned to their swashbuckling best in the final against India.

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The Kookaburras netted five goals in a one-way first half to all but assure victory, with a further two goals just icing on the cake in the 7-0 victory.

The Australian men's hockey team has won every Commonwealth Games gold since the sport became part of the program in 1998, and this year's win was particularly memorable for captain Eddie Ockenden.

The final over India handed him his fourth Commonwealth Gold, drawling him level with Kookaburras legend Mark Knowles on the medal tally.

Ockenden could yet go for an unprecedented fifth gold when the Commonwealth Games are hosted in regional Victoria in four years time, but the Kookaburras champion has already turned his focus to a much more elusive Olympics gold in Paris.

"I'm really proud to have that, and it's a huge part of our history, but it's not about my fourth, it's about the team now winning the gold medal," Ockenden said.

"I'll try and keep going, make the squad (for Paris), I'm feeling really good and fit.

"I have no idea (about the next Commonwealth Games), it seems like such a long way away ... it's in Victoria, Geelong, I'm a big Cats (AFL) man, so it'd be nice."

India were left in a 'state of despair' due to Australia's play, Channel 7 commentator Alister Nicholson declared at one point.

It was an emphatic reminder of their Commonwealth dominance. They are 41-1 since the sport entered in 1998, with an overall scoreline in those seven finals of 33-2.

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The brilliance of one of the country's most underrated teams was best summed up by their second goal.

Daniel Beale showed dexterity to pluck possession from an Indian stick on the edge of Australia's defensive circle.

Seconds later he'd received the ball back 70 metres downfield from an outrageous, no-look Josh Belz pass weighted to bypass three Indian sticks.

Beale ripped the ball to Flynn Ogilvie with Nathan Ephraums finishing the brilliant passage with a simple tap in.

"We had to scrap and fight (in the semi-final) and when you win those you gain momentum," Ockenden said of their blistering display.

"It points to the culture and we were lucky to get the chance to play like we did today."

Australia celebrate a goal against India.
Australia proved a cut above India in the Commonwealth Games hockey final. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

It was hockey at its best and India, despite the incredible hand-eye coordination of goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, were simply no match.

Ephraums and Jacob Anderson scored twice, Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie and Tom Wickham completed the rout and the combination of desperate and composed defence from Ockenden, Jeremy Hayward and Matt Dawson ensured a clean sheet.

"He's still looking like a spring chicken, running around at his fourth Comm Games," co-captain Aran Zalewski said of Ockenden.

"We can draw on so many experiences he's had ... highs, lows, things that are indifferent.

"Just having someone that's so calm under pressure, is a humble guy and a good fella ... we love everyone in our team, and Eddie just as much.

"We'll head down to the pub and have a few beers and carry on a little bit."

With AAP

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