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.


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.