Fourth time lucky for Kookaburra Ockenden?

Eddie Ockenden has joined an illustrious club having been selected in his fourth Olympic Games team.
Eddie Ockenden has joined an illustrious club having been selected in his fourth Olympic Games team.

Kookaburras co-captain Eddie Ockenden will join hockey greats such as Rechelle Hawkes, Jamie Dwyer, and Mark Knowles after being named for his fourth Olympic Games.

The 16-man squad for Tokyo was named on Monday, with nine players to make their Olympic debut.

Six players will feature in their second Games, with Ockenden by far the most experienced player in the squad after participating in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Ockenden made his Kookaburras debut in 2006 - two years after the team won its one and only Olympic gold medal.

The 34-year-old has since gone on to amass 370 international caps, and he is desperate to snare an elusive Olympic gold medal.

"It's special and humbling to join those great hockey players who have represented Australia at four Olympics," Ockenden said.

"It doesn't feel like it's my fourth - I'm still excited to make it and excited about the challenge and opportunity ahead.

"We have a really strong squad - some really good players missed out on selection so our depth is huge in the Kookaburras at the moment.

"We've got a good mix of experience and some great young guys coming through with plenty of enthusiasm, so we'll be confident - we just have to make sure we're playing our best when we get over there and when it gets to crunch time."

The Kookaburras are currently ranked No.1 in the world, but they will face a stiff challenge from the likes of Belgium, the Netherlands, India, and Germany in Tokyo.

Their first match will be against host nation Japan, who are ranked 15th.

"Being at our best when we need to be is what it's all about," Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said.

"Our first aim is to qualify for the quarter-finals and we cannot underestimate that.

"We come up against a determined host country first up who will be nicely acclimatised and very eager to perform well in front of their home crowd, so each match generates a different set of circumstances. We're not looking too far past that first match against Japan."

The Kookaburras recently swept world No.8 New Zealand 4-0 on enemy territory in a promising sign ahead of the Olympics.

Kookaburras squad: Daniel Beale, Tim Brand, Andrew Charter, Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Blake Govers, Jeremy Hayward, Tim Howard, Dylan Martin, Trent Mitton, Eddie Ockenden, Flynn Ogilvie, Lachlan Sharp, Joshua Simmonds, Jake Whetton, Aran Zalewski.

Australian Associated Press