Hockey prepares to farewell an Australian great
Australian hockey captain Mark Knowles has been hailed as one of the nation's best players of all time as he prepares for his final Commonwealth Games.
Knowles has announced he will retire from international hockey after the Games.
"He's one of the best Kookaburras of all time and he's lifted the standard of hockey worldwide," Australian coach Colin Batch said.
Batch first mentored Knowles on a development tour of Europe in 2003. "We knew early on he could play, he was that good."
Opposition coaches and players were fulsome in their praise of Knowles' great career.
New Zealand Black Sticks captain Arun Panchia has played against Knowles many times.
"He's a legend of the game," Panchia said.
"We have enormous respect for him, his leadership and what he's achieved on the field is second to none."
South African skipper Austin Smith said he had tried to model his game on that of Knowles.
"He plays in the same position as me and I've often looked to him for ideas. Playing against him has been a bit of a nightmare really. He makes it look effortless," Smith said.
In a career littered with highlights, Knowles has earned 300 caps, won Olympic gold at Athens in 2014, twice been crowned world champion (New Delhi 2010, The Hague 2014), and is a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist (Melbourne 2006, New Delhi 2010, Glasgow 2014).
Long-time England player and close friend Barry Middleton said it was hard to find words to adequately do justice to Knowles' contribution.
"I'm happy he's stopping, but he's one of the best I've ever seen," he said.
His qualities as a leader and person are superb and he's a player that makes any team he's a part of stronger."
England coach Bobby Crutchley had the last word on Knowles and his legacy.
"We've often admired him from afar and he's one of the only players we consistently use as an example and role model for our team," he said.
"Great player, great guy and hockey will be poorer without him."
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This article was produced by Games News Service.