(Photo: © FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

The Hockeyroos have been dealt a significant set back in their quest to defend their Commonwealth Games title, today confirming that key defender Kobie McGurk will not be able to compete in Delhi due to injury.

Since returning to Australia since the recent World Cup in Argentina, scans have revealed that McGurk has a stress fracture in her foot, ruling her out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The news comes as a blow to the Hockeyroos defensive stocks given that only weeks ago fellow defender Teneal Attard suffered an ACL injury and defensive veteran Kim Walker retired from international hockey.

McGurk will be replaced in the Hockeyroos Commonwealth Games squad by 19 year old Anna Flanagan. Flanagan made her international debut in 2010 and has played 13 international matches. Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray said that while it was difficult to replace McGurk, Flanagan’s inclusion would add something to the Australian team.

“It is obviously disappointing to lose Kobie because she is such an integral part of our defence and has been a senior player for us for some time. She also added something to us in terms of penalty corners so that will be difficult to replace. However it now gives an opportunity to Flanagan to step up. She played at the World Cup Qualifier earlier in the year and was part of the squad which toured Europe, so she has had some experience already. We see her as being a real player of the future as part of the Australian team. She has a penalty corner prowess as well and has a real presence on the ball. She also has a big motor and I think her athletic and fitness levels will be a real plus at the Commonwealth Games,” said Murray.

Flanagan said she was in complete shock when she received the news, and thought the coach was playing a joke on her.

“I got a call on Monday morning from the coach who said something along the lines of ‘How would you like to come to Delhi and win a gold medal?’ I thought he was joking because I didn’t really think I was in the mix. It is obviously really disappointing for Kobie and she is such a good player, but it hasn’t really set in yet and it is still like a dream,” said Flanagan.

Flanagan said she was hoping to bring a lot of excitement to the team.

“Because there will be so many Commonwealth Games debutants going I wont be the only one in that situation, but I will be looking to some of the senior player for advice on how to handle to certain things. But I am just really excited by it all,” said Flanagan.

Hockey Australia media release