Anna Flanagan, back home in Canberra to celebrate her father Fred's birthday. Photo: Graham Tidy
Hockeyroos star Anna Flanagan says a Commonwealth Games gold medal will ease the pain of missing out on World Cup glory last week, but the Canberra defender insists the team will not be satisfied until it reaches its world No. 1 goal.
Flanagan also hopes a five-month playing stint in the Netherlands will add a new dimension to her game as she sets her sights on helping the Hockeyroos claim their first major international title since 2003.
The 22-year-old is back in Canberra taking a brief break before returning to Perth to start preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.
Flanagan admitted losing the World Cup final to the Netherlands stung the resurgent Hockeyroos, but she is confident the team can regroup to defend its Commonwealth Games crown.
"A Commonwealth Games gold medal would be unbelievable and top off a pretty good 18 months for us, and at this stage we probably see anything but a gold medal as disappointing," Flanagan said.
"There is a bit of pressure going into it, but it would definitely help after losing the World Cup final and help us continue our development."
A Commonwealth Games gold medal would cap a spectacular 18 months for Flanagan.
The former Radford College student was named the world's best junior player last year, earned her 100th Hockeyroos cap, travelled the world with the junior and senior Australian teams and has released her own line of hockey sticks.
Flanagan has also started a law degree after graduating from university.
She will return to Australia to play for the Canberra Strikers in the Australian Hockey League in October but is unsure if she will miss Hockeyroos games for the first time since breaking her finger in 2011.
"I'm not sure if I will miss any, if I do I'll have to sacrifice some things to play that season in Holland. But it's all with eyes on the bigger picture that is the Rio Olympic Games," Flanagan said.
"We really believe we're closing the gap, 18 months ago we set a goal of making the World Cup final. We're second in the world now, we're getting closer and closer to our goal of world champions."
Hockey Australia is expected to name its Commonwealth Games teams this week. Flanagan was 18 when she made her Games debut in India four years ago.
The Hockeyroos will start the Games as favourites, with the Netherlands not in contention. Flanagan predicted particular competition from England, South Africa and New Zealand.
Flanagan has been instrumental in lifting the Hockeyroos from sixth to second in the world rankings and the goal-scoring defender believes they can reach No. 1.
But she will first relocate to the Netherlands to continue her development.
Flanagan will play for MOP and work closely with dragflick expert Toon Siepman. Flanagan scored six goals in the World Cup and was one of the tournament's leading scorers.
"It's the best club competition in the world in Holland ... I'm hoping I can make some real improvements before Rio," she said.
Flanagan enjoyed a rare few days in Canberra to recuperate with family and friends on the weekend.
In Perth she will rejoin a Hockeyroos squad that also boasts from University of Canberra skipper Edwina Bone and Crookwell duo Emily Smith and Kellie White.