Friday, May 24, 2024

Katie Glynn can give GB women firepower, says Mark Hager

Women’s coach Mark Hager believes Great Britain can add the finishing touch now that Kiwi Katie Glynn has joined as his assistant.

Renowned as a hard-nosed player before a back injury cut short her fine career in 2014, Glynn, 31 (above left) joined the set up a few months ago to work with GB’s cohort of forwards, who will get their first taste of action for eight months with Pro League games in Holland and Belgium.

In the 2019 Pro League, GB were unable to confound the odds at and finished sixth of nine teams in goals scored, with 22 from 16 matches, although plenty of chances were being created.

Glynn’s remit – she was the Black Sticks’s second-highest female scorer – has been in the attacking third since she joined the GB programme. “We tend to create a few opportunities but haven’t been able to finish them off,” said Hager of GB’s recent fortunes before the pandemic. “All the players have really welcomed Katie into the squad and how she operates.”

Meanwhile the Australian says the opportunity to blood new talent against the world’s best will only strengthen the squad up until Tokyo 2020.

GB are nursing several injuries while Giselle Ansley (late last year on her Achilles) and captain Hollie Pearne-Webb (on her big toe shortly after lockdown) have had surgery.

“We seem to have had a few niggles over the last seven to eight weeks which is interesting when you look at other sports where there seem to be injuries happening,” added Hager, “perhaps because everyone has been on such a long break and the bodies aren’t used to the workloads again.”

As such, Elite Development Programme players Fiona Crackles, Emily Dark, Sophie Hamilton and Holly Hunt – who has one GB cap from 2019 – were called up to the senior programme three weeks ago. “They have done well and deserved their opportunity,” said Hager.

The injuries, Hager said, have helped selection but he hopes to get four or five of the senior players back in the squad before the home Germany games next month. “We are playing the No.1 in the world so you couldn’t ask for any more of an opportunity to stand up against that sort of competititon and it will strengthen our squad over the next 10 months.”

Sophie Hamilton

Midfielder Hamilton returned to the UK after the collegiate programme was cut short in the US where she was a UConn Huskies player. “She’s very mobile and naturally fit and quite quick. She has the ability to throw some good passes and can link up going forward,” said Hager.

Fiona Crackles

The Durham captain is a “tough defender”, according to Hager, with good passing ability. “She’s slotted in really well and will play in a screen role in the back half,” added Hager. “She’s got a very good hockey brain and can hold the ball well.” She has spent time in Queensland where she made the state’s highly competitive under-21 team, which Hager says has only helped her hockey knowledge.

Emily Dark

A GDP graduate from 2018, Dark is a natural defender but versatile in any position. Scotland coach Jen Wilson said of Dark: “For such a young player, she plays with an incredible amount of maturity and a vast repertoire of skills which continue to develop rapidly.”

Total Hockey


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