200th International Milestone for Australian Fullback Jeremy Hayward Amidst a Lost Cause
A vital cog in the Australian deep defence, Jeremy Hayward has built a strong reputation for blunting out opposition raids as well as wreaking havoc in the opposition ‘D’ with his drag-flick thunderbolts. The 29-year-old Darwin-born defender, who plays club hockey for Tassie Tigers in the Hockey One (Australia’s domestic league) capped off a personal milestone when he made his 200th international appearance in the bronze medal play-off tie of the 15th World Cup final against the Netherlands at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.
Hayward has been in red-hot form in the 15th World Cup scoring a hat-trick inside 39 minutes of play in their 8-0 win over France – he also lapped up two crucial goals in their come-from-behind 4-3 win over Spain in the quarterfinals and emerged as the World Cup top goal-scorer with 9 goals. Of course, he could not celebrate the occasion much as the Kookaburras were handed a 1-3 defeat by the Netherlands
His 200th international appearance bears testimoney to his consistency over time since making his Kookaburras debut at the 2014 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against China at Ipoh, Malaysia – interestingly, Hwayard scored his maiden international goal in only his second game against Canada – a match Australia won 6-0.
Nicknamed ‘Jez’ or ‘Jerry’ to his teammates, the reliable defender has been part of several success stories of the Kookaburras. He was part of Australia’s gold-winning 2014 World Cup team at The Hague, where he was a young drag-flicker alongside established drag-flickers such as Chris Ciriello and Kieren Govers. Hayward also played his part in Australia’s winning ways at the 2016 and 2018 Champions Trophy as well as in the 2015 and 2017 Hockey World League Finals.
The fullback, who has scored close to 100 international goals, had also featured in the 2018 World Cup where Australia had to settle for a disappointing bronze going by their own lofty winning standards and a silver at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Together with drag-flicking forward Blake Govers, Hayward forms a potent drag-flick combination for the Kookaburras – both complement each other whenever one is in the dugout as part of the rolling substitution exercise.