Young-gun Matthew Dawson made his is Olympic Games debut at Rio after being selected in the men’s hockey team.
The Aussie Olympic campaign kicked off with a 2-1 win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand but despite starting strong, the side then suffered back-to-back 1-0 losses to Spain and Belgium. Determined to claim their third straight Olympic medal, the side then secured a 2-1 win over Great Britain and a 9-0 victory over Brazil which included the 7th goal for Dawson. The Aussies had set themselves up for a quarter-final clash against the number 2 ranked side, the Netherlands but hopes of a gold medal quickly faded as the Dutch secured a 4-0 win, knocking the green and gold favourites out of the Olympic competition.
Dawson’s hockey journey began at eight-years-old, following in his sister’s footsteps, on the Central Coast of NSW. The son of former Australian cricketer Trish Dawson then continued his hockey development in Newcastle from 13.
Dawson joined teammate Blake Govers as one of the youngsters of the team at the prestigious World League final in 2015, netting his drag flick in the final against Belgium to secure Australia gold.
The 22-year-old was a member of the Australian U21 team, the Burras, at the 2013 Junior World Cup in Delhi, benefiting from the personal mentorship of Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles in the lead up to the event.
The defender set his sights on being selected in the senior Australian team, something he earned as a result of strong performances at the 2014 Australian Hockey League and U21 Australian Championships. Ahead of his debut against India, he received his first Australian jersey from former number six and Olympic gold medal winner Rob Hammond.