Hockeyroos Stalwart Lynch To Reach 200-Game Milestone

Author: Ben Somerford

Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch is set to make history this weekend by becoming only the second Australian goalkeeper to reach 200 caps and says there’s no end in sight.

Lynch, who turns 33 in July, will reach the milestone if selected in Saturday’s FIH Pro League match against Argentina at Sydney Olympic Park.

The Victorian debuted for the Hockeyroos 13 years ago, but such is the challenge for goalkeepers, has had to bide her time to reach the 200-game milestone.

Twenty-two women and 19 men have reached 200 games for Australia but Sydney Olympics gold medal winner Rachel Imison was previously the only goalkeeper.

Imison, who is Lynch’s childhood hero, is the most capped goalkeeper in Australian history with 207 appearances, which is in the 32-year-old’s sights given she’s aiming to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics which are now 500 days away.

“We’re leading into Tokyo and that’s something in my mind,” Lynch said.

“I’d still love to win a gold medal with this team and that’s something I’m passionate about.

“It’s still a long way off and we’ve got the FIH Pro League which is a really cool opportunity for the Hockeyroos and Hockey in general to promote our sport.

“I’m trying to embrace it and enjoy it but Tokyo is the bigger focus.”

Lynch said there were numerous highlights in her career to date, but one stood out above all else.

“Every opportunity is a good one,” Lynch said. “I’ve had a lot of really cool experiences in my career, to be able to go to three Commonwealth Games, three World Cups and also an Olympic games, I’m really proud of that.

“I try to treasure every time I walk out for the team. Even at my age, 200 games later.

“But the biggest highlight was a moment I wasn’t even involved in when the scored the goal to equalise in the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal match in Glasgow with 10 seconds to go.

“If I think back to that feeling, it’s one of the best I’ve had as a member of the Hockeyroos.

“I was standing up the other end when it happened but it was such a special moment.

“The elation and feeling with my teammates who you work hard with every day, that’s why you play. I loved that.”

Lynch debuted against England in June 2006, but opportunities weren’t overly forthcoming in her early days, battling with Imison and Toni Cronk for the spot in goal.

She missed selection for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics but has come into her own in recent years and was last year nominated for the prestigious FIH Goalkeeper of the Year award.

“It’s been 13 years since I debuted,” she said. “It’s been a long time. It’s taken a long time.

“My journey hasn’t been a smooth ride, plenty of time on the bench, plenty of time in and out of the team.

“I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. It’s something I’m proud to have got to 200 games.”

Ever the team player, Lynch said her focus was on helping the side get two more victories this weekend, against Argentina on Saturday and New Zealand on Sunday, rather than her milestone if selected.

“We always match up well against Argentina,” She said. “Some of our best games have been against Argentina and I really look forward to playing them, especially at home.

“Hopefully Sydney will come out to support us, we’ll need it.

“There’s always a big clash against New Zealand who beat us in last year’s Commonwealth Games final.

“They always turn up. We always have good battles. Playing at home is good for us.

“It’s a good opportunity for us, we’ve been going well in the FIH Pro League and this is another good test for us.”

The Hockeyroos team for the weekend’s matches will be announced on Thursday morning.

Matchday tickets are available from $30 for adults and $10 for children via Ticketbooth and this link.

The Sydney matches are made possible thanks to the support of Destination NSW.

Saturday 16 March 2019 – Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Kookaburras v Argentina – 3pm, Hockeyroos v Argentina – 5pm
Sunday 17 March 2019 – Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Kookaburras v New Zealand – 3pm, Hockeyroos v New Zealand – 5pm
Tickets by www.ticketbooth.com.au
*All times AEDT

Hockeyroos 19-member team:
Athlete (Hometown, State)

Jocelyn Bartram (Albury, NSW)
Edwina Bone (Orange, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Lily Brazel (Sydney, NSW) *Plays for VIC
Emily Chalker (Crookwell, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kalindi Commerford (Ulladulla, NSW) *Plays for ACT
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW) *Plays for QLD
Rebecca Greiner (Bundaberg, QLD)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Warrandyte, VIC)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Kaitlin Nobbs (Newington, NSW)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Michaela Spano (Adelaide, SA)
Grace Stewart (Gerringong, NSW)
Sophie Taylor (Melbourne, VIC)
Mariah Williams (Parkes, NSW)
Georgia Wilson (Mahogany Creek, WA)