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Former Redcliffe star calls time on Kookaburras career

Posted: 7am 07 Jun 2021

Matthew Swann, who helped Redcliffe to a Brisbane Premiership, has retired from international hockey just before the Tokyo Olympic Games, which was to have been his swansong.

The 32-year-old defender left the Kookaburras two months early with wife Roos due to give birth to their first child on August 8, the day of the Olympic Closing Ceremony.

He was planning to retire after Tokyo 2020, but the 12-month postponement and rescheduling of the Games, due to COVID, has dented those plans.

Right move

With athletes required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival back to Australia, Swann has put family first and decided to call time on his career with the Kookaburras.

“I am very comfortable with the decision,” said Swann, who made 207 appearances for the Kookaburras over 13 years, scoring seven times.

“This was a decision made over the course of four or five months. A number of people have told me it was the right move in the circumstances.

Cheering boys on

“With Roos and I having our first child, we were hoping that quarantining would change or maybe the situation and state of COVID globally wouldn’t be as dire as it is at the moment.

“It is sad, but I will be cheering the boys on and thinking about being there, but at the end of the day I have made a decision that I think is the right one for my family.

“In ten years I’m going to look back and still believe I made the right decision to be there for Roos, even though I’m not going to be there for my Kookas family which is sad. But everyone has been fully supportive.”

Well respected

Kookaburras’ Head Coach Colin Batch said: “I know this has been a really difficult decision for Swanny, but I know the decision he has made is the right one.

“Swanny is a real dynamo. You only have to watch him for five minutes to know that. He is well respected and well loved by the group.”

Hockey Australia President Melanie Woosnam added: “Matt has been an outstanding contributor to Australian hockey over an extended period and has embodied everything that makes our national teams so successful on the world stage.”

Best and Fairest

Swann was born in Gympie but followed his parents and two older sisters into hockey at the age of five when living in Mackay.

He was with Redcliffe Leagues Hockey Club from 2007-2009, playing 39 games in Brisbane Hockey League Division 1.

In 2007, Swann won the Brisbane Hockey Association Best & Fairest Medal and Rookie of the Year awards. He is the only player to have won both in the same season.

Family connection

Swann also helped Redcliffe Leagues win the Brisbane Hockey League 1 Minor Premiership in 2009. The team made the grand final that season but lost to Commercial.

“I’ve had a phone call to see if I could come back to the Brisbane League!” said Swann, whose sister plays in Division One for Redcliffe.

“Redcliffe looked after me. It was a place where I was put in a position where I could perform. The club helped helped me progress from being a state player to the national men’s team.

Sporting ambitions

Swann played in the Netherlands’ Hoofdklasse league for Bloemendaal helping win the Euro Hockey League and in the Hockey India League for Mumbai Magicians and Dabang Mumbai.

His Kookaburras debut was on October 19, 2009 against Malaysia and his 200th appearance on Australia Day last year against Belgium in Sydney.

Swann was named Hockey Queensland Player of the Year in 2019 and will continue playing club hockey and stay fit, with triathlon and marathons possibly in his sights.

He has also just been appointed to the International Hockey Federation Athletes' Committee as the Oceania representative.

Matt Swann’s career

Team Honours/Awards
Champions Trophy Winner 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018
Commonwealth Games Gold Medal 2010, 2014
World Cup Winner 2010, 2014
Olympic Games Bronze Medal 2012
World Cup Bronze Medal 2018
FIH Pro League Champions 2019

Personal Honours/Awards
FIH Young Player of the Year 2011
World All Star Team 2011

Tournament History
Olympic Games 2012, 2016
World Cup 2010, 2014, 2018
Commonwealth Games 2010, 2014
World League 2015, 2017
Champions Trophy 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018
Oceania Cup 2011, 2017, 2019
FIH Pro League 2019, 2020

Includes content provided by Hockey Australia

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