After an outstanding 2006 year, Australian goalkeeper Stephen Mowlam will take a year off in 2007 before deciding whether to play on in 2008. With such a hectic schedule this year, including a home series against Spain, the Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy and World Cup, Mowlam will take the year off to recover and pursue his career and extreme sports hobbies, before deciding whether to commit for the assault on Beijing in 2008.
‘I'll just be concentrating on life,’ said Mowlam. ‘I've just moved down to Phillip Island and that was always going to be tough to manage traveling to training and games. And my girlfriend sacrificed a lot to live in Melbourne with me while I did that, so to get away from the city and set up my home business down here is great.’
‘I'd like to think that I’ll come back in 2008 but I fully understand that I’m essentially giving up my spot and there are plenty of great keepers around that can jump in and fill it, just as I did when I started.’
Australian National Coach, Barry Dancer, will be hoping that Mowlam enjoys his break but that the rest reinvigorates the keeper for the Kookaburras' Olympic title defense. ‘We respect his decision to have some time off but we're also very hopeful he'll come back for Beijing,’ said Dancer.
‘He played well in all our major tournaments, and was recognized as one of the top players in the world. We believe he's a player that's still to reach his peak and is certainly not past his prime.’
Dancer believing Mowlam is still to reach his peak is a scary prospect for strikers around the world with some of the Victorian's saves this year hard to believe, particularly at the Champions Trophy where he won Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
While Mowlam may not be throwing himself around the box next year, he'll still be getting airborne as he pursues some of his other sporting hobbies, albeit a bit more extreme than hockey. ‘I'm really looking forward to wakeboarding in the summer and not worrying about injury, and i've got a dirt bike now too so I’ll be doing that in the winter as well as having the freedom just to duck off to the snow when I want,’ he said. ‘With those ups though, there's also the negatives. I'll definitely miss the boys and touring with them and that success.’
Source: Australian Hockey
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