Free Press Journal

Australian hockey player Rob Hammond retires


Rob Hammond

Melbourne: Australia midfielder Rob Hammond Friday announced his immediate retirement from international hockey following the recent men’s World Cup triumph.

“After playing for the Kookaburras for 14 years I’ve decided the time is right to end my playing career with the Australian national team.

“Following the London Olympics I chose to commit to team success at the 2014 World Cup and this has been my primary driver over the past two years. Having won so emphatically last Sunday in The Hague I can now retire proud of our team success and of my own individual career,” Hammond said in a statement.

After 256 appearances for the Kookaburras, the 33 year-old from Queensland has called time on a glittering career that has seen him win Olympic gold and bronze medals, two World Cup titles and two Commonwealth Games gold medals. He retires as one of only seven players to play more than 250 matches for the Kookaburras.

Since making his senior international debut in May 2001 under then-coach Barry Dancer in a 3-1 win over New Zealand, Hammond has represented Australia at two Olympic Games, three World Cups, two Commonwealth Games, six Champions Trophy tournaments, three Oceania Cups and the Junior World Cup.

“The most satisfying moments of my time with this world class team are the breakthrough gold medal win in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 2010 World Cup championship and, most recently, the dominant performance of our 2014 World Cup team. Make no mistake about just how hard each of these squads worked to achieve the ultimate success.

“To retire as an Olympic champion and dual World Cup champion has left me truly humbled by my journey with the Kookaburras. The lessons learnt about the perseverance, courage and toughness it takes to play for these titles, and the titles lost with the Kookaburras, are amongst the most valued experiences of my time with the team,” Hammond added.

As a 23-year-old he was a member of the Australian men’s team that claimed the Olympic gold medal in Athens in 2004 before going on to win the silver medal at the 2006 World Cup. That defeat to Germany was avenged four years later as Hammond was part of the Kookaburras team that won the 2010 tournament.

In between, he was part of the Australian team that collected the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. Amongst his 28 goals for his country, he netted Australia’s fourth in a 6-2 win over the Netherlands in the bronze medal playoff in Beijing.

Persistent injuries forced him to miss the entire 2011 campaign before a broken wrist ultimately ruled him out of a third Olympics in London in 2012. He bounced back to reclaim his place in 2013, helping win qualification to the World Cup via the World League semi-finals tournament before ending with last Sunday’s emphatic triumph in The Hague.

He made his 250th appearance for the Kookaburras in the opening match of the World Cup earlier this month as Australia beat Malaysia 4-0, going on to win the title in style as they scored 30 goals, conceding just three.

Life after the Kookaburras will see Hammond focus on his career in the electrical trade and spending more time with his young family, catching up on all of those things they chose to put aside while chasing what Hammond calls “the dream.”

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