An incredibly successful year of the Kookaburras and legendary coach Ric Charlesworth has been acknowledged today by their nominations in the Sports Performer Awards.
The Kookaburras have been nominated in the Team Performance of the Year category while coach Ric Charlesworth has been nominated in the Coach Performance of the Year category.
While both the Kookaburras and Charlesworth will come up against quality opposition in both categories, the results by the team in 2010 were simply dominant.
The Kookaburras, ranked number 1 in the world, began 2010 full of confidence after finishing 2009 on a high note by winning the 2009 Champions Trophy on home soil in Melbourne in early December.
This form carried over into early 2010 when the team competed in the 2010 Hockey World Cup in New Delhi, India. Despite losing the first game of the tournament to England the Kookaburras were a class above everyone else, winning all their remaining games and defeating Germany 2-1 in the final to give Australia its first World Cup gold in over 24 years.
Keeping an eye to the future and the 2012 London Olympics, Charlesworth choose to take a very young squad to the next major international hockey tournament for the year – the Champions Trophy. Despite leaving several senior players at home and having the least experienced team at the tournament, the Kookaburras were rarely challenged, dominating each match to eventually defeat England 4-0 in the final. The final victory saw the Kookaburras win the annual title for a record 11th time, and their third Champions Trophy title in a row.
The Kookaburras final tournament for the year came at the recent Commonwealth Games, a tournament which they have dominated since the sport was introduced in 1998 having won all three gold medals and having only ever lost one game at the Commonwealth Games.
Australia entered the tournament as clear favourites, putting the Kookaburras under some pressure. However they showed exactly why they are undoubtedly the best hockey team in the world, winning the gold medal match 8-0 against a shell shocked India to cap off a terrific year.
In a sign of their dominance, they became the first team in history to win all three major tournaments (World Cup, Champions Trophy, Commonwealth Games) in the same year.
Amongst their major tournament wins was a great level of consistency, winning 31 out of 36 matches during 2010 by an average winning margin of 3.6 goals.
Their success can be attributed largely to the coaching talents of Charlesworth. After having what is regarded by many as one of the most successful sporting eras during his time with the Hockeyroos, Charlesworth’s reputation has only grown since he became Kookaburras coach in January 2009.
They have won all major tournaments since his appointment and he has significantly increased the depth of talent in the Kookaburras squad as the team now focuses towards the 2012 London Olympics.
To make your vote for the Kookaburras and Ric Charlesworth visit www.performerawards.com.au
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