“All of a sudden it’s a World Cup, a Commonwealth Games, or an Olympic Games, and all of a sudden everyone wants to be on board the Kookaburras train” was a comment made by the Kookaburras Rio goalkeeper, Andrew Charter in “Australia’s Hockey Grail.”
Some may have felt that his comment was harsh, but how many national newspapers around the world would ignore a national team that is ranked number one in the World when they were playing internationals at home?
Every four years the mead expects the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos to come back from an Olympic Games with a medal around their necks. This year as is the norm now, the Kookaburras being ranked number one in the world were once again a ‘guaranteed medal’ Yet as every Olympian knows medals do not come that easy.
The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos do not play many series in Australia, and the International Festival of Hockey currently taking place in Melbourne is the first event hosted by the sporting capital since the 2012 Champions Trophy. The Hockeyroos are playing three test matches against India while the Kookaburras are playing in a four nation tournament featuring New Zealand’s Black Sticks, India and Malaysia.
So one would have expected Australia’s only national paper to at least have given the teams some coverage, but there was nothing in the three broadsheet pages dedicated to sport. Even after day one of matches the results did not appear in the “For the Record” section where scores are published. In fact Day one’s scores have appeared in the paper open the third day of the tournament. Some will say that this is to do with deadlines but with the last game finishing at just after 9pm it should not have been too late to have squeezed at least the results into this section.
It is hard to imagine India who are ranked number on win the World in Test Cricket not receiving any coverage from their national papers when playing at home, or Brazil’s football team, or the All Blacks in New Zealand. As when all is said and done all two of these three sports are played in a similar amount of countries. In Malaysia where their Badminton and squash players have attained the number one world ranking they too are assured of coverage. So why is it that one of Australia’s most successful national teams is not afforded any media coverage?
The Kookaburras have never been ranked outside of the top four in the World since the 1970’s. One would have thought that the success of this team would be something the media would want to promote.
Yesterday seven sports received editorial coverage in the three broadsheet pages, with cricket taking up more than a page. Today only six sports received any coverage, and again Hockey was not one of them.With the cricketers underperforming, one would have thought the success of the Kookaburras would be worthy of coverage. Maybe a losing team is more interesting?
Some would say that the paper should be renamed The Un-Australian for not giving the Kookabuuras and fourth ranked Hockeyroos coverage, but sadly most of the players are used to it, and they just continue to go about their business trying to remain on top of the world.