Flannery’s milestone return to Canberra

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Canberra United’s opening match was a special occasion for many, but none more so than Nickoletta Flannery who played in her 50th appearance for the club.

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The milestone was made even sweeter as it was her first match in the A-League Women for over 19 months after she tore her ACL in May last year.

Cheering her on was her family and a home crowd of 1,263 as she led her team out against Perth Glory at McKellar Park in Canberra.

From the first whistle Flannery seemed to fit straight back in, reviving her connection with teammate Michelle Heyman.

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Flannery set herself up well during the match and was on the receiving end of multiple plays near the goal but on this occasion was not able to score for the home side.

After running out the full 90 minutes, Flannery finished with 38 touches for United and showed signs that her performance is only going to get better in the future.

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Speaking post-match, United head coach Njegosh Popovich knew that Flannery tends to be critical of her game, but said she should be proud of her return performance.

“Coming back off an ACL injury today her performance was outstanding,” he said.

Popovich credits Flannery’s determination as a key motivator that got her through her rehabilitation and return to the league.

“Nicki for me, I’ve known her since she was a kid and she’s really a true battler and she just loves playing the game”, he said.

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Flannery spent four years with United after making her debut with them during the 2015/16 season and is locked in for two more years with her contract.

Prior to her return to the ALW, she made her return to competitive football with APIA Leichhardt during the NPL NSW, scoring six goals during the season.

Having proven in her 50th match that she is back in full strength, you can expect to see Flannery making her mark on the ALW.

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Grace Buckmaster
Grace Buckmaster
Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Covering Canberra United for the 2022/23 season. Women's sport enthusiast.

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