Two Maryborough hockey exports set for Commonwealth Games
TWO of Maryborough's finest hockey exports have been confirmed for the Gold Coast Games.
Former Olympic bronze medal-winning Kookaburras player Mark Hager, named his 18-player New Zealand Black Sticks squad yesterday.
Hager, one of the Heritage City's suite of international hockey exports, named former Maryborough Brothers junior and goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon, who is in line to make her first appearance at a Commonwealth Games.
Her selection comes just 15 months after she made the decision to cross the Tasman to pursue an international career.
O'Hanlon, 25, was part of the Hockeyroos' set-up in Perth, but told the Chronicle she did not see any opportunity to progress to the national team.
She qualifies for New Zealand through her father, and in December, 2016, did enough to impress Black Sticks selectors to earn a place in the national squad.
The St Mary's College student has played more than 20 games for the Black Sticks, and was part of the squad who competed in a five-game tour of Argentina last month.
Argentina triumphed 4-1, but it gave Hager a chance to give O'Hanlon time in the net ahead of the Games.
Hager has coached New Zealand since 2008.
He led the side to silver at the Delhi Games in 2010, when they lost the gold medal match to Australia, and bronze at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.
"We've put our faith in the majority of players who played and finished second at the World League Final in December, and are confident we have the necessary talent in this side," Hager said.
New Zealand was drawn in Pool B, where they will meet Australia, Scotland, Canada and Ghana.