Commonwelath Games 2018: Ockenden, Edwards take hockey gold

MEDALS ALL ROUND: The Kookaburras pose after taking out the gold medal match. Picture: AAP
MEDALS ALL ROUND: The Kookaburras pose after taking out the gold medal match. Picture: AAP

Tasmanian hockey players Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards said they were proud to be part of Australia’s sixth straight men’s Commonwealth Games hockey triumph.

The Hobart pair played their part in the 2-0 defeat of New Zealand late on Saturday night in the gold medal match at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.

Second-quarter goals from Aaron Kleinschmidt and Matt Dawson proved the difference between the trans-Tasman rivals.

The tournament had seen Australia register 4-0 thrashings of South Africa and Canada and a 6-1 defeat of Scotland before narrow 2-1 wins over New Zealand and England.

The victory maintains the Kookaburras’ proud record of only ever having lost one Commonwealth Games match - against South Africa back in 1998.

Ockenden has been a part of half of those tournament wins, claiming gold medals in New Delhi, Glasgow and now Gold Coast.

“It feels awesome," said the 31-year-old triple Olympian, two-time World Cup and World League final winner who has also been a part of eight Champions Trophy campaigns, winning six.

"I wasn't thinking about the others, we just wanted to win this one because a lot of the other guys hadn't won one and we wanted to do that for Mark Knowles so to finish like that was great.

"I've played all my career with Knowlesy and he's been sensational. You just stand a bit taller when you're playing with him. He's been one of Australia's great sportsmen.

"This is a big year for us with the World Cup but we certainly set ourselves for this because it's a big event. I just love the Commonwealth Games, it's such a great tournament."

In contrast, Edwards, 26, who helped the team to World League final and Oceania Cup gold last year and was a part of the recent Azlan Shah Cup triumph in Malaysia, was making his Commonwealth Games debut.

"This is very humbling," he said. 

"I grew up watching the 1998 Comm Games with my older brother. That was the first year hockey was played and it's been something that I've wanted to do for a long time. 

"A multi-sport event in Australia with family watching who don't normally get to watch me play is very special and just makes me incredibly proud."