KOOKABURRAS legend Brent Livermore has urged Wagga's Dylan Martin and the rest of the current squad to celebrate their achievement, but use the heartache of the Olympic final loss to go one better in 2024.
Livermore, a member of the only Kookaburras squad to win Olympic gold in 2004, said they used their bronze medal at Sydney four years earlier as a spur to claim the ultimate prize at Athens.
He is adamant the current crop is capable of following suit, with Martin one of 11 debutants in the squad beaten by Belgium in a tense penalty shootout in Thursday's night's decider.
Boasting 318 appearances for Australia, Livermore is now head hockey coach at NSW Institute of Sport and has helped nurture Martin, 23, the past few years.
"We had 11 debutants, while I reckon almost all the Belgians would have been to the Olympics before," Livermore said.
"I said to the NSW boys this morning (Friday) we've got three years until the next one and you've got that experience. Hopefully that leaves us with unfinished business and to have a burning desire the next three years to turn that silver into gold.
"That's what we (2004 squad) leant on after Sydney. They've got to enjoy it and celebrate it, it's been a tough campaign because of COVID and they've done really well, but what they do in the next three years will be an even bigger opportunity."
Livermore said Martin's Olympic debut had come earlier than expected, thanks largely to COVID delaying the Games by a year, but hard work and committing to the program in Sydney had helped him realise his dream.
IN OTHER NEWS
"I look back on individual performance plans we had for Dylan three or four years ago. He wanted to make the national squad by 2021 and play his first game in 2021 so he could set himself for the next four years. It's an Olympics that was ahead of his plans.
"When he first turned up (to NSWIS) we had to put some meat on those bones. But his fundamentals were good, the skills and simple game he had.
"He had a lot of good attributes physically. He became one of the fastest in the group, and that was really important in his transition to the Kookaburras."
As a Grafton product, Livermore knows the commitment required to make it to the elite level.
"Sometimes he couldn't get there (Sydney) and had some rough periods, but when he fully committed and decided it was something he really wanted that's when we've seen a lot of growth," Livermore said.
"He's serviceable and reliable and that's what got him into the team.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.