ON TARGET: New Zealand Black Sticks goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon during the Test series against Argentina at Buenos Aires. Argentina led the five-match series 2-1 before the fourth game was played this morning.
ON TARGET: New Zealand Black Sticks goalkeeper Grace O'Hanlon during the Test series against Argentina at Buenos Aires. Argentina led the five-match series 2-1 before the fourth game was played this morning. Rodrigo Jaramillo

O'Hanlon fights for Commonwealth Games berth

GRACE O'Hanlon helped secure New Zealand's first win in what is one of her last chances to impress Black Sticks' Commonwealth Games selectors.

Anita McLaren delivered the Black Sticks' first win in the five-match series with a last-minute goal in her 250th game for New Zealand.

O'Hanlon, a Maryborough Brothers junior, conceded two goals in the first 11 minutes as the world number three team shot to an early 2-1 lead.

Shiloh Gloyn put the Black Sticks ahead in the 38th minute before McLaren sealed the deal with seconds on the clock.

Black Sticks coach Mark Hager, a Maryborough product who won a bronze medal for Australia at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said he was pleased to see his team bounce back to form after they fell 4-0 and 3-1 in the previous two games.

"It was a much improved performance. The girls played with good structure and we were able to control Argentina's attack much better than previous games," Hager said.

"It was great to see the girls fight hard today and apply some of the details we have been talking about."

Former St Mary's College student O'Hanlon moved to Perth in 2015 to be part of the Hockeyroos' high performance unit.

She couldn't break into the Hockeyroos, so in 2016 travelled to New Zealand and trialled for the Black Sticks, for whom she qualified through her father.

Last month, she told the Chronicle it was the best decision of her career.

Hockey New Zealand will name its teams for the Commonwealth Games in early March, and O'Hanlon is a strong chance to make the cut should Hager opt for two goalkeepers.

Black Sticks veteran Sally Rutherford, who has played 150 games for her country, was rested for the Argentina tour after her player of the tournament performance at the World League Final.

Both O'Hanlon and Brooke Roberts were included in the tour for depth development.

The Black Sticks face Argentina today, with their fifth and final game of the series on Wednesday.



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