Any one of Australia’s 18 players in Saturday’s 2018 Commonwealth Games final could have been named Player of the Match according to outgoing skipper Mark Knowles and he loves that.
The Kookaburras won the Commonwealth Games gold medal on Saturday with a 2-0 win over New Zealand in the decider after goals from Aaron Kleinschmidt and Matt Dawson.
The match marked Knowles’ 324th and final cap for the Kookaburras, ending a significant era for the side, but the veteran said the future was bright for Australia given the even contribution.
“I know in every great team that I’ve played in, one person has never won us big games,” Knowles said.
“The way that team contributed last night, if you asked the 8,000 in the crowd who was our best player, you’d get 18 different answers.
“I love that about this group.”
“It’ll be interesting to see what the guys felt but we never mentioned it once,” Knowles said.
“There was probably five seconds pre-match where someone mentioned it but I was really clear to the guys we needed 18 players on the field to do their job.”
The 34-year-old Rockhampton product bows out of the international game having claimed an Olympic gold medal and two bronze medals, along with two World Cups and now four Commonwealth Games gold medals.
“It feels awesome to wake up to have the gold medal I wanted, these guys wanted and that hockey in Australia wanted, it feels really nice,” Knowles said.
“I’m super proud we were able to put in a performance in a final that we’re proud of.”
Knowles also pocketed the match ball from Saturday’s final after a nice gesture from a close mate.
“That’s a nice little moment for me,” Knowles said.
“Jake Whetton, one of my great mates, a Queenslander, found that ball for me.
“That’s a small memento that will stay with me. It’s not often you get those little things right for yourself.”