Sport

Aussie hockey talent snapped up for new Indian league

Jamie Dwyer of Australia runs with the ball in the final between Australia and the Netherlands of the 2012 Champions Trophy at State Netball Hockey Centre on December 9, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.
Jamie Dwyer of Australia runs with the ball in the final between Australia and the Netherlands of the 2012 Champions Trophy at State Netball Hockey Centre on December 9, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. Michael Dodge / Getty Images

CHRISTMAS has come early for 15 of Australia's best hockey players, snapped up at auction for the newly-formed Hockey India League, the country's equivalent to the lucrative Indian Premier League cricket competition.

While the million-dollar paydays handed out to their cricketing cousins were nowhere to be seen (each of the 24 franchises was limited to a total of $US600,000), the money on offer is expected to extend the careers of some players and even attract more people to the sport.

Five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer was the highest-priced Aussie, snapped up by the Punjab Warriors for $78,200 for the four-week competition.

Other Australian players to attract the big dollars were Eddie Ockenden (Utter Pradesh Wizards - $65,000), Mark Knowles (Punjab Warriors - $57,000), Joel Carroll (Mumbai Magicians - $56,000) and Mathew Swann (Mumbai Magicians - $51,000).

Knowles said he watched the auction live in Tasmania where he is spending Christmas with his wife's family, and said it was a life-changing event.

"I'm very, very, very happy," the 28-year-old said.

"It will certainly make it easier to make decisions about playing for longer.

"I'm closer to the end of my career than the start, but it doesn't put so much pressure on to get a job."

While Knowles said the competition had come "about 10 years too late" for players like him and Dwyer, it would be great for the next generation of stars.

"For someone like Matt Butturini or Joel Carroll, to have it so early in their careers is fantastic," Knowles said.

"It will make a massive difference to what we can do in the sport Australia. Most guys even struggle for stick sponsors. Now, if guys are looking at AFL or soccer or hockey, they'll have more of a look at our sport."

Until the advent of the HIL, due to run from January 16 to February 10, the top players had to make do on the annual Hockey Australia contract of about $60,000-a-year, plus a fraction of that for the best players able to get a start in a professional league in the Netherlands.

Knowles said he hoped his previous success in India - he played in victorious Kookaburras teams in the 2010 World Cup and 2010 Commonwealth Games - would rub off on the Punjab Warriors.

"The squads look amazing ... very even, but we've got a very nice looking team," he said.

As well as himself and Dwyer, the Warriors, to be coached by Hockeyroos coach Barry Dancer, also includes Kookaburras regulars Kieran Govers, Simon Orchard, Chris Ciriello and Rob Hammond, as well as Argentinian captain Lucas Rey and outstanding Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

Topics:  australia, hockey, india, jamie dwyer, kookaburras



Saving green spaces

ECO WARRIORS: Nicole McLachlan, Andrew Cairncross and Oliver McLachlan plan to protect the land.

A Fingal environmental group need your help.

Top chefs help feed the needy

CREATIVE KITCHEN: Helpers providing the good food at Halcyon House's community dinner.

Top chefs raise money for needy: socials

From little things, big things grow

Diana Abraham, with help from Chris Watt, cutting the cake at the Meals on Wheels 30th birthday.

Meals on Wheels mark 30th anniversary on Tweed Coast

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Tyalgum kicks off musical season

Flutterbies' Solar Chapel and operatic soprano Jenna Dearness-Dark prepare for the Opera and Piano concert in Tyalgum on September 3.

Intimate concert awaits.

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m