The West

Kookaburras have no reason to laugh
Jamie Dwyer will have a break with wife Leoni and sons Julian, 3, and Taj, 18 months, before resuming his Olympics campaign. Pic: Daniel Carson

The Kookaburras may have established themselves as the No.1 hockey team in the world but coach Ric Charlesworth believes they are nowhere near as good as they need to be with the London Olympics just five months away.

The World Cup champions wrapped up their Kookaburras Cup campaign at Shenton Park yesterday, beating Argentina 4-0, but the effort didn't convince Charlesworth they are ready to challenge for gold in London.

"The day before the main game at the Olympics I will hopefully be thinking there are still things to be done," he said.

"We need a lot of work on our finishing, we are penetrating and creating dangerous situations (for the opposition) but we are not as good as we can be."

He said corners were a constant source of work, both in attack and defence, even though they have made some progress defensively playing the Netherlands and Argentina over the past two weeks.

"If we were to select an Olympic team at the moment we would be making a bad mistake because there will be players who, in three or four months time, would have progressed 10 per cent and others, who under the pressure of selection, don't measure up," Charlesworth said.

"That is the environment we are in. We have 28 in the squad and there are others on the periphery, and that is a big group to manage, which is a constant challenge."

He said the past two weeks, playing on the same blue surface which will be used at the Games, had been a valuable experience because it was so different to what they were used to.

There are some injuries in the squad but nothing serious with Olympian Des Abbott ready to resume training after three weeks out with a quad strain and Bevan George, who has come out of retirement, also expected to resume training.

"There is background noise of injury all the time but nothing significant. All are manageable and under control," Charlesworth said.

"Bevan playing in this series would have been important for him because he played his best game in this series before being injured."

Players will have the next few days off and international player of the year Jamie Dwyer cannot wait to spend time with his young family who can expect to see little of him in the lead-up to the Olympics.

He will spend the next three weeks at home before hitting the road for games against China and Japan in the Eastern States in late March and then travelling to Europe for three weeks at the end of April.

The West Australian

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