Anna Flanagan expects to miss Commonwealth Games, throws support behind Kalindi Commerford
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Anna Flanagan expects to miss Commonwealth Games, throws support behind Kalindi Commerford

Anna Flanagan's Commonwealth Games dream is all but over after the former Hockeyroos golden girl conceded her chances of a last-minute recall are slim.

Flanagan has struggled to relaunch her international career after a tumultuous 2016 saw her benched for the Rio Olympics and then stood down indefinitely for a "breach of team protocols".

Anna Flanagan is keen to test herself after being invited to train with the Hockeyroos.

Anna Flanagan is keen to test herself after being invited to train with the Hockeyroos.

Photo: Ben Rushton

The 26-year-old worked her way back into an Australian development squad but has been unable to add to her 171 Hockeyroos appearances in the past 18 months.

Flanagan described her chances of a third Commonwealth Games appearance on the Gold Coast in April as "pretty slim" but said she's still training in the hope of late call up.

"I didn't get picked at the end of last year and the coach is meant to call and give me feedback but hasn't yet," Flanagan said.

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"It's definitely confusing and hard when you don't know what you need to work on or what they're looking for, I obviously want to play and at the moment I'm still training just in case."

Although Flanagan is unlikely to feature at the Games, another Canberran in Kalindi Commerford is fighting for a spot during the Hockeyroos five-Test series against Spain in Perth this week.

Commerford, Laura Barden, Ambrosia Malone and Jodie Kenny are vying for the final two spots in the 2018 Hockeyroos squad and will find out after the Test series.

"I've just got to stay really involved in the game and play an aggressive style, the Spanish are quite quick so I need to keep up with their pace but also play my own style," Commerford said.

"I'm pretty quick and am playing in the midfield so I need to be able to get the ball and make good decisions whether to go forward or back and deliver strong passes.

If she makes the 26-man Hockeyroos roster Commerford will earn a one-year contract, but it won't guarantee a trip to the Gold Coast, with the Commonwealth Games squad cut to 18 players.

"At the moment I'm just focusing on getting in the national squad but the Commonwealth Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity and would be amazing," Commerford said.

"Last year I made the development squad but not the actual squad so I moved to Perth in May to expose myself to the coaches more and because the club comp is a lot stronger.

"I've been doing undergrad law jobs while studying but if I make this squad it will make the whole move worthwhile."

Flannagan admits she will soon shift her focus to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and said she'd be thrilled to see Commerford make the Commonwealth Games squad.

"Kalindi is a good friend and she's been living in Perth trying to break into the squad after quitting her job last year, so it would be amazing to see her get an opportunity," Flannagan said.

"She's played a few games for Australia and to get this opportunity to get one of the final two spots is a really big chance for her.

"I'm going to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be but not being in the squad makes my chances of the Comm Games pretty slim, so I'm probably more looking at Tokyo and the end of year World Cup.

"I just turned 26 and still love playing, I always wanted to have a long career, it's just getting that opportunity and I don't know where or when my next opportunity will come, but all I can do is keep working hard and putting my best foot forward."

Eamonn Tiernan

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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