Hockeyroo targets bushfire appeal goal

Rob Forsaith
Hockeyroo Kalindi Commerford will help bushfire relief after fleeing infernos near her home

The bright lights of Tokyo loom large for Hockeyroo Kalindi Commerford, but she's struggled to focus on anything but home since fleeing the NSW South Coast during the national bushfire crisis.

Commerford, who is desperate to take part in her first Olympics, will take a major step towards the 2020 Games during Saturday's clash with Belgium at Sydney Olympic Park.

The 25-year-old is also using this weekend's Pro League double-headers to raise funds for Treading Lightly Inc's bushfire appeal for Milton-Ulladulla.

Commerford is donating $50 for every goal scored in every match, men's and women's, and $100 for every goal she personally scores.

Hockeyroo is arguably best described as a full-time job without a full-time salary, given players pocket a daily allowance of approximately $70 on tour in addition to a part-time scholarship.

"Hockey isn't the most lucrative sport but I want to help any way I can," Commerford said.

"I've set up a GoFundMe. People can pledge whatever they want.

"I had two weeks down there and spent most of my time inside trying to do an Olympic pre-season, when all you could smell and breathe was smoke.

"But that's absolutely nothing compared to people who have lost lives and homes."

Commerford's mum and sister live near Mollymook.

"Mum had some grass fires near her, about a kilometre away, and my sister had a bushfire at the end of her street," she said.

The midfielder left them without saying goodbye after making a split-second decision to get out, joining a convoy of cars that had been evacuated from the south.

"Three minutes after I left, the roads out of Milton shut but then I was sort of placed near the big Conjola fire," Commerford said.

"I got as far as Jervis Bay and the roads got shut further north.

"I wanted to get back to Perth for the start of Hockeyroos training. I felt a lot of guilt being away from home."

The Hockeyroos named a 27-player squad for 2020 but only 16 will be part of the Olympic campaign.

"It's a fine line between excitement and fear. Even if it is fear, you've got to mask it as excitement," Commerford said.

"It's something I've worked towards my entire hockey career."