The answer? Almost, but not quite.
In major sports where an athlete is selected to play for Australia, the record appears to be held by former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, with a whopping 575 appearances for Australia in his 18-year career. Between his debut aged 20 and his retirement aged 37, Ponting played 168 Tests, 375 one-day internationals and 17 T20 internationals.
Fellow cricket legends Steve Waugh (493) and Allan Border (428) also played over 400 matches.
THE MOST GAMES FOR AUSTRALIA
Eddie Ockenden 400 (2006-*)
Madonna Blyth 342 (04-16)
Ricky Ponting (575 – 168 Tests, 375 ODIs, 17 T20s) 1995-2012.
Steve Waugh (493) 85-2004
Allan Frontier (428) 78-94
Karen Rolton (170)
Robyn Maher 374, Andrew Gaze 297
George Gregan (139)
Darren Lockyer (59)
Cheryl Salisbury and Clare Polkinghorne (151)
Mark Schwarzer (109)
Liz Ellis (122)
Ockenden’s 400 games then arrive, then Robyn Maher’s 374 games for the Australia women’s basketball team, Dwyer and Madonna Blyth’s 342 games for the Hockeyroos. Andrew Gaze’s 297 games for the Boomers are also on it.
With more contact and dominant club competitions, football codes have lower tiers for most international selection records.
Ockenden, for his part, prefers to check his nearly 18-year international career by tallying more medals than competitions: one Olympic silver and two bronze, four Commonwealth golds, two World Cup golds and seven championship trophies, to date. And as explained, he’s not done yet either. That Olympic gold is not yet on the list.
“That’s really interesting…I haven’t really thought about it at all,” Ockenden says of its place in Australian sporting history.
“There’s not much going on. I just like playing the next tournament. There’s always something to strive for in hockey, there’s a World Cup coming up in January and then it’s another 12 months until the Olympics .”
Ockenden debuted for Australia at the age of 19 in 2006 and has gone on… and on.
“It’s a lot of games, but it felt relatively easy,” he said. “I enjoyed the races, I like to train and travel the world and all the fun stuff. But there’s also a lot of dedication and dedication that I put into it.
“I consider myself lucky that I have not had too many problems with injuries and my body. I’m not in pain, I’m not in pain after training, I don’t take time to recover, I prefer to train and play. So I feel happy there and some of the hardest parts of my career are watching teammates go through those struggles.
Sorry, did you say you don’t get hurt? Most top athletes at the age of 35 can barely get out of bed.
“I don’t think I use my muscles well, or have strong bones or anything,” laughs Ockenden.
“Yes, not really. I don’t get so sore that I have to control my load or anything like that. I never miss workouts. I’m lucky that I don’t get sick often and things like that. If you were in pain and found it hard to get out of bed, yes, it would be hard to keep playing.
As Ockenden’s teammates will attest, supreme fitness is a big factor. The GPS unit on Ockenden’s back tells us he’s run about 7km in each of the 400 races – which equates to 3200km, or Sydney to Perth – all at high intensity. Often with four or five matches in as many days.
“There’s no real secret, I’ve kept it relatively simple,” he said. “I like the game.”
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