Kookaburras legend Jamie Dwyer backs former teammate Simon Orchard

PROVEN PERFORMER: Simon Orchard has played more than 200 games for the Kookaburras.

PROVEN PERFORMER: Simon Orchard has played more than 200 games for the Kookaburras.

GUEST OF HONOUR: Former Kookaburras captain Jamie Dwyer was the star attraction on Saturday, playing a one-off game for Wests against Norths. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

GUEST OF HONOUR: Former Kookaburras captain Jamie Dwyer was the star attraction on Saturday, playing a one-off game for Wests against Norths. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HOMECOMING: Rio Olympian Matt Dawson returned to play for North Newcastle against Wests on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HOMECOMING: Rio Olympian Matt Dawson returned to play for North Newcastle against Wests on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

JAMIE Dwyer says if the Olympics was this year, his former teammate Simon Orchard would almost certainly be in the Australian hockey squad.

But Dwyer acknowledged that, at the age of 30, Orchard faces a huge challenge to win a Kookaburras recall as a new-look coaching staff look to rebuild after the disappointment of Rio 2016.

The Maitland midfielder was a notable exclusion from the national squad in December, but Dwyer found himself in a similar situation after London 2012 and fought back to compete in a fourth Olympics, at the age of 37.

“He just needs to stay injury-free, he needs to have a great attitude and he needs to play really good hockey,’’ Dwyer said. “If he does that, I reckon he’ll be in the team.

BRUSH WITH FAME: Norths' Jordan Willott tries to keep former Kookaburras skipper Jamie Dwyer at bay on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BRUSH WITH FAME: Norths' Jordan Willott tries to keep former Kookaburras skipper Jamie Dwyer at bay on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

“If I was the coach, and we were picking a team for the Olympics, he’d be in with a show, no doubt about it.’’

Dwyer said players were capable of enjoying international careers into the mid-30s, providing they “do all the right things and look after your body extremely well”.

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