Blackwood tips Australia U-23 stars to shine on road to Tokyo

Tokyo is the destination, but Australia’s Olympic journey ramps up in Wollongong against New Zealand on Friday night.

And George Blackwood cannot wait to see what Gary van Egmond’s side can produce on the south coast.

The 22-year-old Adelaide United striker says Australia are ready to pick up exactly where they left off from their successful 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification campaign in March.

And although the Olyroos have not played together since that tournament in Cambodia, Blackwood believes his side have the potential to soar to great heights on the road to Tokyo.

It all starts with laying down a marker of intent against the Kiwis at WIN Stadium, at 7:30pm AEST.

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“I think the team’s going to come a long way in the next six to seven months,” Blackwood told

“[Friday] is about getting off on the right foot. We’ve been progressing really well through camp.

“Most of the players know each other already and we’ve got a great bunch of boys. Now it’s just about finding rhythm on the pitch.

“It’s going to be exciting to see how it goes.”

George Blackwood
George Blackwood wants Australia's U-23 side to find their groove on the pitch against New Zealand

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Blackwood added that team chemistry is high in van Egmond’s 24-man roster, with players relishing the chance to pull on the famous green and gold jersey again.

“It's always great to come on these camps with the Olyroos,” he said. “Especially when you’re in pre-season with your clubs, it gives you a little freshen up.

“And it’s exciting and always great to see some old friends and play for the national team of course, it’s always a privilege.”

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Australia's U-23 squad have been working hard in preparation for the games against New Zealand
Australia's U-23 squad have been working hard in preparation for the games against New Zealand