Games put party on hold

BIRTHDAY celebrations are on hold for Rockhampton's Australian men's hockey Commonwealth Games representatives.

Since arriving at the Games Village in Melbourne last week, Kookaburras stars Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles have both celebrated birthdays.

Dwyer ? the 2004 international player of the year ? enjoyed his 27th birthday on Sunday while fellow Rockhampton golden boy Knowles turned 22 last Friday.

Both players agree the perfect birthday present would be Commonwealth Games gold on Sunday week.

At 22, Knowles is the youngest member of the Kookaburras team, which has swept all before it in world hockey since its 2004 Olympic gold medal breakthrough.

Dwyer is competing at his second Commonwealth Games ? where world No.1 Australia is chasing an unprecented hattrick of titles.

Knowles said yesterday the Kookaburras were looking forward to showcasing their world-class talents on home soil.

"It's an opportunity for us to show Australia what the Kookaburras can do on home soil and build the profile of hockey in Australia,'' said Knowles, who alongside Dwyer will have a strong Rockhampton contingent cheering them on in Melbourne.

The Kookaburras launch their title defence against Scotland on Friday night.

Games schedule: (March 17) Australia v Scotland (March 19) Australia v Canada (March 21) Australia v England (March 22) Australia v New Zealand (March 24) Semi-final (March 25) Final

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