'Look like a sl*t': Hockeyroos great reveals coach's horror comment

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Anna Fanagan, pictured here in action for the Hockeyroos.
Anna Fanagan played 171 games for the Hockeyroos. Image: Getty

Former Hockeyroos star Anna Flanagan has detailed a disturbing comment from a former member of the team's coaching staff, amid explosive allegations of bullying, body-shaming and homophobic behaviour within the national set-up.

The Hockeyroos are on the lookout for a new coach just four months from the Tokyo Olympics after Paul Gaudoin became the latest key figure to fall on his sword on Wednesday.

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Hockey Australia announced that Gaudoin had tendered his resignation following the internal release of findings and recommendations of an independent review.

The review was launched after explosive allegations rocked the Hockeyroos' set-up late last year, throwing the elite women's hockey program into chaos.

Speaking in the wake of the scandal, former Hockeyroos star Flanagan recounted one of her experiences with a former coach.

Anna Flanagan, pictured here after scoring a goal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Anna Flanagan celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Speaking to News Corp, the 27-year-old said a member of the Hockeyroos coaching staff told her she "looked like a slut" in a photo she'd posted online in 2010.

Flanagan, who played 171 games for the Hockeyroos, said the female staff member slammed her for inadvertently exposing part of her sports bra in the photo wearing her green and gold uniform.

“She told me I looked like a slut, because part of my sports bra was showing,” Flanagan said.

“That was from a member of the coaching staff. That was just one of the many inappropriate comments that were said to me.

“There were so many other things and not just to me. Girls were constantly being told they were going to get kicked in the c …”

Flanagan claims she complained to Hockey Australia at the time, but no action was taken.

Ric Charlesworth floated for shock comeback

Flanagan's comments came as legendary former Hockeyroos coach Ric Charlesworth was floated as a possible candidate for the vacant job.

Speaking to AAP on Friday, Charlesworth said he is yet to decide whether to apply for the top job, admitting his uncompromising coaching style could end up being misconstrued as bullying.

Hockey Australia chief executive Matt Favier said Charlesworth was one of a number of "wonderful" candidates that would be considered to take over.

Charlesworth is Australia's most decorated hockey coach, leading the Hockeyroos to Olympic gold in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), before enjoying a successful six-year stint as coach of the Kookaburras.

Ric Charlesworth, pictured here addressing his players during a training session in 2010.
Ric Charlesworth addresses his players during a training session in 2010. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

But the 69-year-old said his uncompromising style - which would include telling players straight up if their performance wasn't good enough - might not sit well with the current Hockeyroos player group.

"I don't know how you get people to (reach their potential) without challenging them. If that's bullying, then I'm out of my time," Charlesworth told AAP.

"I'll tell them you'll train four times a week to exhaustion, and you'll have to discipline yourself in your personal life to be totally focused on getting the best outcome for yourself at the major competitions.

"And sometimes, I'm going to have to give you bad news, and sometimes I'm going to have to say you didn't do that well enough. Sometimes I'm going to say that you've been putting on weight and that affects your performance.

"It seems to me they are all the things that upset this group. Being an elite athlete at that level - wanting to aspire to be an Olympic or World Champion - is uncomfortable, and difficult, and stressful.

"Sometimes things will go wrong and you won't get selected.

"So you lob in there and that's the message on the first day - do you want to be in this or not? Maybe that means that I'm from another era. But as I understand it, that's what I did and I did it pretty well.

"My formula would be as I described it, and it seems to be that's almost the reason that we're in this situation."

Charlesworth also cited his age as a potential barrier.

with AAP

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