Mackay’s Matthew Swann fights for possession of the ball with New Zealand’s Shea McAleese. Swann hopes a solid effort in the upcoming Champions Trophy will edge him closer to be part of Australia’s Olympic squad in London next year.
Mackay’s Matthew Swann fights for possession of the ball with New Zealand’s Shea McAleese. Swann hopes a solid effort in the upcoming Champions Trophy will edge him closer to be part of Australia’s Olympic squad in London next year. TAUSEEF MUSTAFAAFP

Swann eyes off Olympic dream

MACKAY'S Matt Swann is just one step away from his dream of playing for the Kookaburras in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Swann, who lives in Perth where he trains with the Australian squad, is now a regular member of the side and will play for the world No. 1 Kookaburras when they attempt to become the first team to win the Champions Trophy four years in a row.

The prestigious tournament hits off in Auckland, New Zealand, from December 3-11, after which coach Ric Charlesworth will name a squad of 27 for the Olympics.

This will be Swann's third Champions Trophy, and although he's a regular member of the national side he's taking nothing for granted.

"It's a long time before the Olympics, I have to play well if I want to go," he said.

"That squad will be announced just before Christmas, so I have to train hard and play hard and make the team for London."

Swann played recently for the Kookaburras in their narrow win over New Zealand in the Oceania qualifier for the Olympics in Hobart.

"We lost the first game 3-0 and drew the second 3-3, then we beat them in the final match 6-1 to gain qualification," he said.

"There was heaps of pressure in that final match, we had to beat them by three goals or more."

Swann recently had his first taste of Super 9s hockey, which he described as the equivalent of cricket's Twenty20.

"There's a different set of rules with only nine players on the field," he said.

"It was very fast with a lot more space on the field. It's just an exciting form of hockey. "I hope there will be more tournaments like that, it's a lot of fun to play."

Charlesworth said the Champions Trophy was an important stepping stone towards the Kookaburras' Olympic build up.

"The Champions Trophy will give us an idea of where we are at," he said.



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