AFTER helping her Canberra Strikers team claim bronze at the last ever Australian Hockey League recently, Mollymook’s Kalindi Commerford has now shifted her focus to helping the Hockeyroos take out the final Champions Trophy.
In the AHL third-place playoff, Commerford’s Strikers edged Victoria in a penalty shoot-out – which she think helped cement her spot in the squad.
“It’s always good to finish a tournament on a win and this was the first time any of our Strikers group had medalled at an AHL, which was really exciting,” Commerford said.
“We all knew the Hockeyroos squad was going to be picked after the AHL, so we knew we all had to play to the best of our abilities during the tournament, which thankfully the coaches think I did – it’s going to be special to play in the last ever Champions Trophy.”
Commerford and the squad have started training before jetting off to China next week, ahead of their opening game against Argentina on November 17.
“Training has been focused on getting us all used to playing with one another again, after one month of being away from camp,” she said.
“On top of that, we have four new girls to the group, who are getting used to our system.
“In particular, our coaches picked up some little style things they want us to improve on from our AHL play.
“There has been an emphasis on giving the ball and getting ahead of the play, to put yourself in a position to get it back, especially as a midfielder – which in turns helps our strikers.”
The former Ulladulla High School student is excited to get another chance to add to her 17 caps in China, after having her World Cup campaign cut short due to a hamstring injury.
“After not being able to finish the World Cup earlier in the year, I’m keen to test myself against some of the best players in the world once again,” she said.
“I don’t just want to keep up with them, I want to force them to mark me.
“I’d also like to score a goal against Great Britain, who we play on my birthday.”
Success for the Hockeyroos at the Champions Trophy, which will run from from November 17-25, is crucial on a number of accounts.
“As a team, we are determined to take out the tournament, because we showed at the World Cup that we can compete with the top teams like Argentina and the Netherlands [who beat the Hockeyroos in a shoot-out in the semi-final],” she said.
“It’s important that we finish as high as we can, for our world rankings – because next year’s Australian Sports Commission funding is directly related to success, as outlined in the Australia's Winning Edge strategy.”