Sunday, December 3, 2023

Hockeyroos coach was ‘fall guy’ in Australia hockey fall-out

Hockeyroos past and present believe that Hockey Australia top brass must take more of the blame following the independent review findings into the women’s programme.

Anna Flanagan, who won two Commonwealth titles with the Hockeyroos, says that the national governing body would have kept the ‘dysfunctional culture’ issues under wraps were it not for a myriad of newspaper stories which engulfed the sport.

The 29-year-old added that former assistant coach Nicole Arrold set the tone in the media when highlighting the toxic culture within the programme and gave reason for others to voice their grievances. “I think it is so brave she did,” she told

Flanagan said that the recommendations were short in detail and “didn’t answer any allegations”. Hockey Australia decided against publishing the full report, which saw over 100 people interviewed.

The fall out saw women’s coach Paul Gaudoin quit his role on the eve of the findings, released publicly on Thursday.

Flanagan told Foxsports: “I feel for Gaudoin because he’s definitely been the fall guy in all of this and it’s not necessarily his fault.”

And Flanagan says that the issues stem from over a decade ago when players first complained about the programme.

She added: “I think it’s a much broader and bigger issue. There’s been letters sent in 2018, there’s been complaints made since 2017, 2016, all the way to 2010, when the players went to the board about the coaching.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Lily Brazel, who has undertaken legal action for her dismissal from the programme, said that Hockey Australia’s statemennt following the findings release didn’t go far enough.

There’s still a lot of healing that needs to be done for past players like myself, because we‘ve been through a lot,” Brazel told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

“It’s great they’re going to look into things for the future, but they can’t walk away from what’s happened.

“There’s still a lot of players, not just me, who have been left damaged and are still trying to heal from being in that toxic environment.”

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