New Kookaburra Matt Dawson has big shirt to fill

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

ROOKIE: Matt Dawson before his debut. Picture: Dan Carson

RETIRED Kookaburras midfielder Rob Hammond played 256 internationals for Australia, scored 28 goals and racked up gold medals at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships.

All wearing the Australian No.6 shirt.

On Tuesday Newcastle Norths defender Matt Dawson was handed the No.6 Kookaburras shirt by Hammond as he prepared to make his debut in the senior national side that was playing that night against India in Perth.

The 20-year-old performed with distinction in his Kookaburras debut, maintaining a solid defence in Australia’s 4-0 victory in game one of the four-Test series.

Dawson also played in game two on Wednesday night.

‘‘We got presented with our shirts during the day, so I got pretty excited after I received mine,’’ Dawson told the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday.

‘‘He’s worn it for 14 years, so I hope to be able to do something similar.’’

Hammond suffered plenty of ebbs and flows in his 13-year international career.

He suffered various injuries, including a broken wrist that robbed the 33-year-old of a third Olympics appearance at London in 2012.

Asked what words of wisdom he took from Hammond, Dawson said: ‘‘He said now I’ve been given the opportunity and if I want to make a career out of it, that it’s up to me now to keep working hard.’’

Any pre-game nerves about making his international debut quickly evaporated for Dawson once he took his first touch against the world No.9-ranked Indians.

‘‘It was definitely different playing against the Indian team as they’re all quick and skilful players,’’ he said. ‘‘It was a step up, but nothing I didn’t really expect it to be, and it wasn’t too daunting for me.’’

Eight defenders are battling for five spots in the Kookaburras squad for the Champions Trophy from December 6 to 14 in Bhubaneswar, India.

New Kookaburras coach Graham Reid is yet to name his squad for the Tests against India on Saturday and Sunday.

Dawson believes he is a good chance for the Champions Trophy if he receives another opportunity to shine.

‘‘If I can build on last night’s performance and put in another two or three performances like last night, or a little bit better, then I’m slightly confident I’ll get the nod.’’

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