What a first half of the season. There were many highs and lows- but overall playing in the Dutch competition for MOP was a huge learning curve. I am currently in Argentina with the Australian team awaiting Champions Trophy, another opportunity to make a final and chase that gold medal.

The past three months with MOP I have learnt a great deal about a different style of play and culture. With a team that has no Dutch internationals it is a real challenge to play together to beat the teams with many national players ranked higher than us. In saying that the girls beat Amsterdam who are one of the top ranked teams, and yet we can lose by a goal to one of the lower ranked teams, every game is a battle and there is something to be gained each time you step onto the pitch.

I have also learnt a lot about Dutch culture and the directness in how people talk to each other and get a message across. I have been doing Dutch lessons once a week and thus far I have been able to get by on the basics, but hoping to pick up another class next year to better understand and eventually speak the language. We played a practice game against Holland yesterday and feel better off knowing what they are calling to each other.

It has been a big year of travel with World Cup and Commonwealth Games, from playing the first part of the season in Holland, to going back to Australia for our national league. I played for my home state ACT against the other states and territories. It was nice to play with the girls I grew up playing with again, but whom I only get to see usually once a year. With a top 4 goal, we ended 5th so were disappointed in the result but happy with the hockey we displayed. From this tournament the Champions trophy squad was picked. However, once the two weeks were up I flew straight back to Holland to join the MOP girls.

For MOP we lost some games that cost us crucial points, and created enough opportunity to really make our mark on the competition had we taken scored more goals. In saying this we finished the season with a win and on a positive note heading into the winter stop. While the MOP girls get ready to take on the indoor season in freezing Holland I arrived last week with Casey Sablowski, also playing in Holland for Pinoke, in Argentina to join the Aussie girls.

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The Hockeyroos have already spent a week prior to Argentina playing in New Zealand and Casey and I had to again get used to playing our style, as opposed to that of our Dutch teams. We start the tournament on Saturday with England first up. It gets to over 35 degrees here, so it has been good to acclimatize early as it is a little different to the 7 degree Holland weather we came from!

Last time we were in Mendoza in 2012 it was our coach Adam Commens’ first tournament and we beat Argentina in the final. Unfortunately I also broke my finger and was sent home early to get a plate and six screws put in it, that are still there to this day. It has been a long road since then as we have climbed the rankings from 7th in the world to 2nd.

I am so excited to be back playing in the Hockeyroo bodysuit for international competition as we aim to finish the year off as strong as we have the past 2 years, and get closer to that world number 1 ranking.
A huge year of learning, after this I go back to Australia for pre-season preparation away from the hockey field, before heading back to Holland for the second half of Dutch competition- and the last for our club coach and world renown flicking trainer Toon Siepman.

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Anna Flanagan
World hockey’s Young Player of the Year for 2012, Anna Flanagan is one of a group of young Australian athletes rapidly rising to the top together. Known as ‘Flanno’ or ‘Boy’ amongst teammates and friends, Flanagan reached a century of international appearances three years after making her debut. With a passion for the media industry and a keen blogger, Flanagan has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has spent time both in front of the camera and behind the scenes with broadcasters in Perth in recent years. Now studying for a law degree to add to her journalism qualification, she also has a certificate three and four in fitness. Despite playing with her trademark yellow ribbon in her hair, Flanagan describes herself as a bit of a tomboy. Introduced to hockey through family, the youngster from Canberra initially refused to play because she was made to wear a skirt. At age eight she won that particular battle as her club allowed her to play in leggings; possibly one the smartest decisions made in the history of Australian hockey as Flanagan’s love affair with hockey quickly took off.

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