Knowles leads Kookaburra redemption
HOCKEY: Rockhampton's own Kookaburras' defender Mark Knowles was last night expected to be in action in the FIH Men's World League Final quarter-final face-off against Spain in Bhubaneswar, India.
With the world number two Australian team finishing third in Pool B with three draws, the match against the Spanish team, who ended Pool A second with two wins, was set to be a tense encounter.
Kookaburras last went up against Spain in Johannesburg in July, with the Australian men's team winning both matches, including an 9-1 win the third place match.
Knowles, 33, currently has 29 goals under his belt, debuted for the Kookaburras in 2004 and was awarded World Player of the Year in 2007.
Knowles' mother, Barbara Knowles, will be watching the match at home but says that she has been in contact with her son.
"He says the team is good, they're enthusiastic,” Barbara said.
"I think he will try to lead them to victory as best as he can.
"I think no matter how many games it's very natural to feel nervous but the crowds over there are so good and they love the atmosphere.
"There will be fireworks around 10-15,000 people so it's natural to feel nervous.”
After a disappointing end to the Kookaburra's campaign in Rio last year, Barbara said that the main focus will be on "rebuilding” and the competition will give a good indication of where the team stands at the moment.
"They're going well and they're a very young team so this will be good experience for some of them,” she said.
"It's a hard game, I imagine, and I think they will try to settle as soon as they can and get in some goals because that's where they've been lacking to be honest.”
The winning team out of the match will go up against either Germany or the Netherlands in the semi-finals at the end of the week.