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.
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.