Dylan Martin playing for the Kookaburras in Tokyo
UNSW student Dylan Martin has been in stellar form for the Kookaburras in Tokyo.

Their campaign got off to a great start, with a 5-3 win over hosts Japan on Saturday 24 July. They backed it up the next day with a huge 7-1 win over India to shoot themselves up to the top of Pool A.

Their next two games were also strong wins, defeating Argentina 5-2 and Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand 4-2. In their final pool game on Friday 30 July they had their toughest match yet, coming away with a 1-1 draw with Spain. UNSW Elite Athlete Program members Tim Brand Dylan Martin were both instrumental for the Kookburras throughout the pool rounds and looked ready to contest the finals.

The gritty draw with Spain served as excellent preparation for their quarter-final against the Netherlands. The match was hard-fought from start to finish and nothing could separate the teams at 2-2 at the end of regular time. Fans around Australia held their breath in unison as the sudden-death match went into a penalty shoot out. While Australia slotted both of their two attempts, the Netherlands missed theirs. UNSW Bachelor of Actuarial Studies / Commerce student Tim Brand stepped up for the Kookaburras. With this attempt he could take Australia into a semi-final. He calmly guided the ball past the keeper and the Kookburras erupted in celebration.

After a day's rest it was time to take on Germany in the semi-final. Although Germany struck first, with a goal in the fourth minute of the match, Brand came through with the equaliser only three minutes later, slotting his fifth goal of the tournament so far. The Kookaburras pulled ahead in the second quarter and then finished it off with a goal in the final minute after Germany subbed their goal keeper off to throw everything at a final attacking play.

They will play world number two Belgium in the gold medal match tonight, aiming to win Australia's first gold in men's hockey since Athens 2004. Both teams topped their pools and neither have lost a game so far in Tokyo. The last time the two teams met, in January 2020, Belgium came away with a 4-2 win. However the Kookaburras will be hoping that a plan to peak at the right time will pay off and allow them to reverse that result tonight.

What: Men's Hockey Gold Medal Match

Who: Australia v Belgium

When: Thursday 5 August, 8pm

Players to watch: Tim Brand (Bachelor of Actuarial Studies / Commerce) and Dylan Martin (Bachelor of Construction Management & Property)