AUCKLAND (AFP) - Australia is aiming to secure a historic fourth straight win at hockey's Champions Trophy starting in Auckland on Saturday, the sport's last major tournament before next year's Olympics. The Kookaburras, the reigning Olympic and world champions, go into the eight-nation tournament as favourites, keen to assert their dominance ahead of the London Games. Australia has held the Champions Trophy since 2008, a feat they have achieved once before -- in 1983-85 -- and which has been equalled only by West Germany (1986-1988). While an unprecedented fourth win at the December 3-11 event in Auckland would be a bonus for Australia, coach Ric Charlesworth said his focus was on improving his squad's depth ahead of the Olympics. "Every step from now on is a step towards our final destination of the Olympics," Charlesworth said. The tournament venue was switched from New Delhi to Auckland in September after a row between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Indian officials over who runs the game in the country. As a result, New Zealand took India's spot at the tournament. Pakistan and South Korea were both given wild cards in the expanded event, which this year features eight teams instead of six. Pakistan, the lowest-ranked team, performed well to secure a 1-1 draw in a warm-up match against world No. 2 team Germany and will hope world record-holding goal scorer Sohail Abbas can help end a 17-year Champions Trophy drought. Host nation New Zealand are full of self-belief after ending a 12-year losing streak against Australia in Hobart last month, but had mixed fortunes in warm-up games, with a 3-1 win over Great Britain and a 4-3 loss to Spain. Coach Shane McLeod said the home advantage would provide a major boost for his experienced team, which boasts 2,125 caps. "Having the support of a local crowd and the benefit of playing on our home pitch will really help -- it's something we've never had before at this level," he said. The tournament begins on Saturday with Australia facing Spain, Great Britain v Pakistan, Germany v New Zealand and the Netherlands v South Korea.