Dawson in for Kookaburras

HECTIC: Australian representative Matt Dawson, playing for Norths earlier this year, has ongoing commitments with the Kookaburras including the International Festival of Hockey in Victoria from Sunday. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNext year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Gamesremainthe dangling “carrot” for Norths hockey product Matt Dawson, but right now he finds himself in the midst of a busyblock with the Kookaburras
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Fresh from his secondOceania Cup success last month Dawson is also eyeing off Hockey World League finals in India next month, but in the middle will be the International Festival of Hockeyin Victoria.

That tournament, the second of its kind, starts on Sunday with the Australian men’s team having travelledto Bendigo on Friday.

The Kookaburras play New Zealand twice on back-to-back days before moving to Melbourne and tackling Pakistan (November 8), the Kiwis again (November 9) and Japan (November 11). Play-offs are next Sunday (November 12).

“The last three months of the year were always going to be big,” Dawson said.

“But I guess it’s exciting times with a major tournament to finish …and in the back of my mind is always Commonwealth Games at the start of next year as well.

“It’s always nice to represent Australia but being Commonwealth Games and being on the Gold Coast would be pretty special.”

And in the absence of a few senior squad membersnext week the 23-year-old defender, who has 79 caps next to his name since debuting in 2014, wants to step up.

“We’ve probably lost a little bit of experience from the team for the end of the year,” he said.

“I think it’s a bit of my time to step up and take control a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Teralba’s Mariah Williams wasn’t named in the Hockeyroos squad for the International Festival of Hockey in Victoria, butinstead returns from injury fora three-Test series against Japan in Adelaide from November 15 to 18.