Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League: Kookaburras champion Jamie Dwyer unable to help Wests beat Norths

WORLD CLASS: Jamie Dwyer in action for Wests on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

WORLD CLASS: Jamie Dwyer in action for Wests on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

HIS CV is beyond compare.

Four Olympics, including a gold medal at Athens 2004. Five times world player of the year, 365 games for Australia, and 243 goals – all records.

Jamie Dwyer might be one of hockey’s all-time greats, but at Broadmeadow on Saturday he was a mere mortal, a tad rusty in his first game for six months and unable to find the net in his guest stint for Wests, who lost 3-2 to Norths in their Hunter Coast Men’s Premier League season opener.

In his first game since Australia’s Rio 2016 campaign, the 38-year-old striker showed glimpses of his magic, in front of a healthy crowd more akin to a grand final than round one.

But he could not quite deliver a trademark, highlights-reel strike – possibly because his former Kookaburras teammate Matt Dawson was playing in defence for Norths.

“I haven’t played since Rio,’’ Dwyer told the Newcastle Herald.

“I haven’t done much except be a retired man and enjoy a normal life. I probably haven’t looked after my body as I once used to.

“So it was my first hit-out and I was actually surprised that I could still trap a few balls and did a few things I used to be able to do.’’

While Dwyer is happily retired at international level, he hopes to play a few games for his club side in Perth this season.

“I miss representing my country, for sure,’’ the 38-year-old said.

“Running out wearing the green and gold, representing your country, it’s the best thing. 

“But I’m also happily retired.

“I know I can’t do it any more. It’s another two years until the World Cup, which would have been too long.

“I played 16 years for Australia – four Olympics and four World Cups – and I’m happy with that.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that I gave it everything I had, mentally and physically.’’

It was Dwyer’s second appearance in Newcastle after playing in a Test for Australia against New Zealand a decade ago.

He combined his appearance for the Rosellas on Saturday with a guest-speaking stint at the club’s season launch, and a coaching clinic on Saturday morning.

Elsewhere in round one, Souths thrashed University 8-1  on Sunday while Gosford overcame Maitland 6-3 at Wyong.

In the women’s competition, Regals reversed last year’s grand final loss to Central with a 4-1 victory on Saturday, Avoca Beach defeated Oxfords 2-0 while Souths and Tigers drew 1-all.

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