Kobie McGurk retires12 November 2013
HOCKEY: Beijing and London Olympian Kobie McGurk has announced her retirement from international duties after a stellar nine-year career, spanning 185 caps for Australia.
McGurk leaves the Hockeyroos program with a longstanding love for the game of hockey. “My passion and love for the game of hockey was never lost. My ability to commit to the Program in its entirety was.”
Debuting against the United States in 2005, McGurk went on to represent Australia at two Olympic Games, a Commonwealth Games, two World Cups and five Champions Trophies.
McGurk played under two-time Olympic medal winning Kookaburras coach Frank Murray between 2005-2010 and then under current Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens between 2011-2013.
It is a disappointing blow for coach Adam Commens and the Hockeyroos who announced their 2014 national squad last week. McGurk was anticipated to play a pivotal role in the teams World Cup and Commonwealth Games campaign.
“It is disappointing to lose a player of Kobie’s experience. She was an integral player in the London Olympic team and was named 2012 Hockeyroos Player of the Year. It is always going to be difficult to replace someone of this calibre.
“However, there comes a time in everyone’s career where they have to make a decision about their life moving forward and this decision has been weighing on her mind for some time now,” Commens said.
McGurk’s playing career was plagued with injuries, suffering the first of two anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in 2009. Her second ACL tear came during the 2012 Australian Hockey League, which forced her to miss the 2013 World League Semi-Final victory in England.
In 2010, scans revealed shocking news for McGurk only weeks out from the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Stress fractures in her foot required a metal plate to repair the fracture, crushing her hopes of back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medals.
“Kobie was someone who showed an amazing degree of resilience to come back from two knee reconstructions. Over time, these sorts of physical stresses and mental battles take their toll,” Commens said.
Her 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal, 2006 World Cup silver medal, selection in the 2011 FIH All-Star Team and being named 2012 Hockeyroos Player of the Year will go down as major milestones in her decorated career.
“It’s important to recognise Kobie’s uncompromising approach to the game. Her mental toughness and physical attributes epitomise what we’re looking for in our players. These elements of her game will be solely missed on and off the field.
“Kobie will be remembered as a player with tremendous courage, determination and physicality. She is a player who was at the heart of the Hockeyroos defence over the last nine years and will be remembered as one of the toughest defenders in international hockey,” Commens said.
Current Hockeyroos Captain Madonna Blyth spoke of the disappointment to lose such a valuable member of the team, but the pleasure she had in playing alongside one of the games great competitors. Blyth captained McGurk between 2009-2013 and played alongside her in the majority of her 185 matches.
“Kobie would have to be one of the toughest players I’ve ever played alongside. She was fiercely competitive, reliable and was one of those players you would hate to play against,” Blyth said.
One memorable incident lives long in the memory bank of Blyth which epitomises the character of McGurk. “I remember coming off the pitch mid-game at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and seeing a staple gun and nearly fainting. ‘Kobes’ had received a blow to the head so the doctors stapled the cut closed and she got straight back out there. She always put the team first and has a huge heart.
“She is one of those athletes who gets knocked down but gets up stronger. She just thrives on hard work. She will be missed by everyone in the Hockeyroos family.”
McGurk would like to thank Hockey Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Western Australian Institute of Sport and Hockey WA for their unwavering support during her playing career.
Moreover, McGurk praises her families support and persistence throughout her hockey career. “Without my family, I wouldn’t be half the person or player I am today”
Hockey Australia would like to wish Kobie all the best in her future endeavours.