After qualifying through a back street, and surviving dark times, the men's Black Sticks are ready to make a bold statement at the Rio Olympics.

New Zealand initially failed to qualified for the Rio Olympics, though earned a spot after South Africa withdrew, believing they weren't a medal chance.

Captain Shea McAleese says as a result of the struggles, they've built a strong team culture.

He says the eternal optimist in him has constantly thought it would be a wonderful fairy tale story if they go from barely qualifying to winning gold.

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Captain Simon Child, who'll attend his third Olympics says after string of close tournaments, says they think they've cracked the key to gold.

He says it's a matter of putting a string of winning games together, before backing themselves come knock out time.