CHAMPIONS: Rockhampton hockey's finest, Matt Gohdes, Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles.
CHAMPIONS: Rockhampton hockey's finest, Matt Gohdes, Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles. Matty Holdsworth

Hockey royalty come home

HOCKEY: It is a simple line, solely used as a sound check for interviewing purposes, but when a hockey legend introduces himself simply as "Jamie Dwyer from Rockhampton" you hear the immense pride triggered in the words.

What can be said about a man who has done everything?

He's an Olympic Gold medallist, two-time World Cup winner, six time Champions Trophy winner, three-time Commonwealth Gold medallist and considered the greatest Australian hockey player of all time - Jamie Dwyer is father, husband, sportsman, icon.

Yet be it his humble upbringings or just his personality, there is not a stitch of arrogance to Dwyer's core.

He might have left his parent's home at 17 to "chase the dream" but Rockhampton will always be exactly that - home.

 

Australia's Matt Gohdes, right, and Argentina's Guillermo Schickendantz, left, vie for the ball during the Field Hockey World Cup semifinal match men between the Australia and Argentina in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, June 13, 2014. Australia won the match with a 5-1 score and will play The Netherlands in Sunday's final. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Australia's Matt Gohdes, right, and Argentina's Guillermo Schickendantz, left, vie for the ball during the Field Hockey World Cup semifinal match men between the Australia and Argentina in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, June 13, 2014. Australia won the match with a 5-1 score and will play The Netherlands in Sunday's final. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) Peter Dejong

Last Thursday night, Dwyer was the special guest alongside Mark Knowles and Matt Gohdes at the Rockhampton Hockey Association's Green and Gold Gala dinner.

"I have always looked at myself as a guy from Rockhampton just lucky enough to play for Australia," Dwyer said on the night.

"Tonight is really good, very special. I don't get home too often, so to be here with Mark and Matt and see so many faces to celebrate Rockhampton hockey is just great.

"We have represented it for a number of years now and it is great to see so many happy faces.

"Familiar ones too, people from other clubs, people I would play against and with, family... it is special. So to come back and see some of the people who have been on that journey with me - for them to say congratulations means a lot.

"I left home 20 years ago to chase the dream and to come back tonight I feel very humbled and happy to be home."

 

Jamie Dwyer celebrates Australia's win during the Day 6 Australia v Netherlands final match at the Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in Melbourne, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AAP Image/Grant Treeby) NO ARCHIVING
Dwyer applauded the crowd in Australia's win during the Day 6 Australia v Netherlands final match Grant Treeby

Through parents Barry and Lea Dwyer, the now 37-year-old first stepped out onto Kalka Shades at age four.

"Junior hockey on grass was very competitive here," he said.

"The club scene with Wanderers, Souths, Parks, Frenchville, Rovers - it was good fun.

"My standout moment for Australia is the Athens Olympics in 2004. It was a childhood dream in 2004. To win it the way we did, I couldn't be prouder.

"I still don't believe it to be honest."

In an open Q and A, Rockhampton Regional mayor Margaret Strelow asked; "What is it about this city to have three Olympians in one team?"

It was an undirected question and all three struggled to answer.

Dwyer took the reigns first.

"I am not too sure honestly," he answered. "But in general, the whole men's and women's team have a lot of people from the country."

"It is quite hard when you are in the Australian team and you say we are all related (by marriage). You do get funny looks," he joked.

 

Mark Knowles of Australia in action during the Day 6 Australia v Netherlands final match at the Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in Melbourne, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AAP Image/Grant Treeby) NO ARCHIVING
Mark Knowles of Australia in action during the Day 6 Australia v Netherlands final match at the Men's Hockey Champions Trophy in Melbourne, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. (AAP Image/Grant Treeby) NO ARCHIVING Grant Treeby

After being passed the ball by Dwyer, Knowles' answer was closer to the money.

"Playing against older men at a young age was a huge factor in all of us growing up quickly as players," the current Australian captain said.

"It is a regional athlete thing in general, being exposed to that higher level earlier.

"I was playing A-grade at 14, like these two as well, and playing for Queensland at 18 against Brisbane kids who didn't even play first division in Brisbane. They had never played against men.

"Yeah you get knocked around a bit but you grow up quicker."

 

Australia's Jamie Dwyer, holding the trophy, celebrates with his teammates after winning the men's final of the Field Hockey World Cup between Australia and The Netherlands in The Hague, Netherlands, Sunday, June 15, 2014. Australia beat the Netherlands with a 6-1 score to win the World Cup. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Dwyer holding the World Cup trophy, after defeating The Netherlands. Peter Dejong

Upon being asked whether he would play Masters, Dwyer recalled the moment he was "done".

"I knew my time was up when I was in America playing on grass and a 50-year-old lady tackled me quite easily. How quickly you lose it," he humbly mused.