Despite having been what can only be considered a powerhouse in international hockey for decades, Olympic gold had always seemed to evade the Australians; the team were sometimes seen as chokers on the big stage – the team had lost three previous Olympic finals after making it to the semi-finals and beyond in eight of their last nine appearances at the Summer Games since Tokyo in 1964 and had an overall record of three silver and three bronze medals – however, the hope was that 2004 would be different.
Australia made it through to the gold medal match after defeating Spain 6-3 in the Semis and faced defending Olympic Champions, Netherlands in the final.
It was a tight gold medal match, with a 0-0 deadlock broken six minutes from half-time when Dutchman Ronald Brouwer beat Australian goalkeeper Stephen Mowlam. Travis Brooks drew level for Australia three minutes into the second half and an exciting stalemate ensued for the rest of regular time and after the final whistle had blown, the Kookaburras were still without that elusive gold medal – the teams were locked at 1-1 and headed for an uncertain period of extra time. Enter Jamie Dwyer.
In a frenetic extra-time period, Dwyer struck gold for Australia as he slammed home a golden goal in the eighth minute from a penalty corner, sealing the top spot on the podium for Australia in their fourth Olympic final. The team had played a breathtaking, aggressive style of hockey to defeat the Dutch and avenge a 2-1 loss of their own in the preliminary rounds.
Brent Livermore (Captain), Jamie Dwyer, Liam de Young, Michael McCann, Troy Elder, Robert Hammond, Nathan Eglington, Mark Knowles, Michael Brennan, Grant Schubert, Bevan George, Mark Hickman (GK), Matthew Wells, Travis Brooks, Dean Butler, Stephen Mowlam (GK)