Fresh from claiming a maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal, Norths hockey player Matt Dawson will undergo hip surgery later this month attempting to have his “body right” for the World Cup and Tokyo Olympics.
The 23-year-old defender, who scored a goal for the Kookaburras in the weekend’s decider on the Gold Coast, said after standing on top of that major podium the focus now turns to India in November and the 2020 Games.
It means the planned procedure, to address an ongoing impingement in his right hip, will keep Dawson out of the upcoming Champions Trophy in The Netherlands from June 23 but the vision remained long term.
“I’ll have 12 weeks off now, so it’s disappointing I won’t get to play Champions Trophy but the goal is the World Cup at the end of the year and onwards to Tokyo,” Dawson told the Newcastle Herald.
“Having the body right for those two major tournament is the main thing.”
Dawson said the timing was spot on.
“The [right hip] impingement has been an issue for a while,” he said. “Obviously being such a big year it works out well to have Commonwealth Games now and then have a bit of a break leading into the end of the year.”
Dawson was lucky to even take part in his first Commonwealth Games after recovering from a freak training injury suffered in mid-February.
He was almost left without sight after being accidentally struck in the head with a hockey stick, resulting in a fractured eye socket, bleeding on the back of the retina and detached nerve.
But following emergency surgery, Dawson showed enough improvement to get named in the 18-man squad last month, pass a fitness test before the tournament began on April 5 and play his 100th game in green and gold.
“Two months ago, whether or not I’d be at the Commonwealth Games was a big question mark,” he said.
“The trust the coaching staff had in me, knowing if I got myself on the park I’ll able to do my role for the team, filled me with a little more confidence about my ability.
“There were a few nerves. I hadn’t really played for six weeks. [Wearing protective eyeware] I kept growing in confidence every time I was out there. I was pretty happy with I how played the last three games and to go through undefeated was unreal.
“I came through unscathed and a bit of time off now will only help me to get further along in my rehab.”
Dawson acknowledged the career of retiring skipper Mark Knowles and said sending out the 324-Test veteran a winner had “motivated” the Kookaburras squad.
He departs for his base in Perth on Thursday after a few days visiting his parents in Killarney Vale.
Meanwhile, the Hunter’s Commonwealth Games medalists such as Kurt Fearnley, Natasha Scott, Dan Repacholi, Katie Ebzery and Lauren Parker have been photographed with green and gold decorations at Newcastle Airport arriving home from the Gold Coast.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.