Dragflick Newsdesk : The decorated career of one of the Hockeyroos’ longest serving players has come to an end with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch announcing her retirement from international hockey.
Since debuting for the Hockeyroos in 2006, Lynch has made 233 appearances in an international career spanning 15 years to leave her as Australia’s most capped goalkeeper ever.
Retiring as a dual Olympian, among Lynch’s list of career achievements include being a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and being named the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Women’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2019.
Over her career the 35 year old proved one of the best shot stoppers in world hockey and exceptional when it came to performing on the tense stage of penalty shootouts.
After competing at last year’s Tokyo Olympics where she helped the Hockeyroos go through the Group Stage undefeated, Lynch has decided the time is right to call it a day on the international scene.
“It has been a luxury having this time since the end of the Tokyo Olympics to the start of this year to be able to see where I am at, spend some time working and seeing family/friends and talking to people,” said Lynch.
“This has all definitely helped and allowed me to make the decision that I have.
“I feel pretty content. As much as I feel I’ve still got more to give the sport, I fully respect the focus being on the group for Paris 2024 and feel I can still contribute to the sport in other ways.”
“You don’t think about it when you start playing that you are going to play hundreds of games for the Hockeyroos.
“Being the most capped goalkeeper ever for Australia is something I am very proud of and having a long career is something I was able to do because I have looked after my body and had that balance of work and life outside of the sport.”
“I have lots of really fond memories and have had so many wonderful experiences. The friendships are a very special part of it but there have been some key moments that I will never forget. Particular tournaments, games, milestones and international tours, they are memories that have changed my life forever.”
Hockeyroos Head Coach Katrina Powell paid tribute to Lynch’s longevity, drive and ability to stay at the top of her game for so long.
“As a goalkeeper, the fact Rach has played so many games shows her quality over a long period of time,” said Powell.
“It’s unusual for goalkeepers to play that many games at the highest level, so her resilience and the calibre of the player she has been highlights that, coupled with the international accolades she has achieved in that time.
“She has reached amazing heights in her career, not just in terms of representing Australia but being respected worldwide.”
Lynch’s decision to call time on her decorated international career follows the recent retirements of fellow Hockeyroos veterans Edwina Bone, Emily Chalker and Ashlee Wells.
“On behalf of everyone involved in hockey in Australia, I congratulate Rachael on her career with the Hockeyroos,” said Hockey Australia President Ross Sudano.
“Representing your country once is an achievement in itself, but to do it over 200 times with distinction in a high performance environment is something unique.”
“Rachael’s dedication to her craft and the Hockeyroos over her international playing career is unquestioned and I wish her every success in the future.”
Having balanced her hockey career with being a qualified nurse, ambassador for mental health charity R U OK? and running her own goalkeeping academy among a host of other off field endeavurs. Lynch has plenty to immerse herself in as she ends her time as a high performance athlete.
“I hope to continue my involvement in sport at an advisory level including current positions with the World Olympians Association and the Australian Olympic Committee,” said Lynch.
“I’ve long believed there is significant gap in mental health education, training and support for young athletes striving to compete at the highest level. I am now keen to dedicate my time and energy to drive improvement in this space.”