FORMER Hockeyroo Jade Warrender may have played her last game for Australia after announcing her immediate departure from the Australian Institute of Sport Hockey Women’s High Performance Program.
Making the move to Perth to be part of the Hockeyroos centralised training program in July 2011, Warrender’s stay in Western Australia has seen the 21-year-old ride the highs and lows associated with being a professional athlete.
Earning 43 caps for Australia, Warrender also battled the effects of two knee reconstructions, the second of which ruled her out of contention for the London Olympic Games in 2012, and more recently was replaced in the squad on the eve of the World League in London after tearing her hamstring in the build-up to the tournament.
Revealing “a sense of relief” having informed Hockeyroos’ management and teammates of her decision earlier this week, Warrender refused to put a timeline on her break from the sport.
“I can’t answer that ... as I’ve learned in the past you can’t predict the future,” Warrender said, having made her senior international debut against Germany in February 2011, aged 18.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time.
“It was a sense of relief for me when I came up with the decision.
“It wasn’t a decision taken lightly. I’ve been talking to those closest to me now about for the past 12 months. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it was what I needed to do ... I needed to think about what was best for me and my health.”
Set to move to Forster, Warrender said she’d now look forward to doing the things normal people do.
She plans on studying to become a secondary school physical education teacher at the University of Newcastle.
“I’m not worried about when and if I come back,” she said.
“It was time for a break.
“(Hockey Australia) were super supportive. The door is still open (for a return to international hockey) if I’m meeting the standards.”
Labelling the Ex-Services junior an “extremely talented athlete”, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens lauded Warrender’s contribution to his team over the last 18 months.
“While it’s disappointing that she has had to battle with injuries over two of the last three and a half years it’s understandable that under such circumstances these events take their toll,” Commens said.
“Hopefully a break at this time will help Jade regain her passion for the game and allow her to try to re-establish herself as an influential Hockeyroo sometime in the future.”
Warrender will still continue to work with the New South Wales Institute of Sport but, as Commens said, the key to the gifted defender returning to the elite level was rekindling the passion that’s already driven her to the top.
“I think any injury takes its toll and for me over the last couple of years I’ve consistently had to deal with them,” Warrender said.
“I’m still positive about the future but it’s about finding that passion.”