This story was first written for and published by The Roar.
A question I frequently get asked is which sport is doing the most for women’s sport in Australia. My answer is always the same.
Each sport seems to be nailing it in at least one key area.
For example, when it comes to participation, AFL is a leader. When it comes to women in media, I see the NRL as being in front.
Rather than compete with each other, each sport should take the opportunity to learn from what the other sports are doing. We can all get better together.
Despite each sport being good in at least one particular space, I always credit cricket for giving the other sports a push when two-and-a-half years ago it announced the start of the Women’s Big Bash League.
Following that, we saw an announcement about the inaugural AFL Women’s competition, and women’s rugby league continues to be the biggest growth area in the game.
Cricket has been in the headlines for plenty of the wrong reasons in the last year, particularly in relation to the bitter pay dispute, but late last week a new deal was entered into and the impasse was officially declared over.
This new deal is a watershed moment for the women’s game, and is another example of cricket leading the way. Here are some of the key points:
- For the first time, this pay deal will apply to all male and female players. There is a projected player payment pool of $459 million which will apply to all players.
- The deal results in the biggest pay rise in any sport for women in Australian history, increasing from $7.5 million to $55.2 million.
- The performance pool, which previously only existed for male players, will now also apply to the Australian women’s team.
With this new pay deal, the status of female cricketers is now enshrined and they have truly been recognised as partners in the game, just like their male counterparts.
I wonder if, just like in the participation space two-and-a-half years ago, this historic pay boost will push other sports to improve in this space as well. How many of the others will be up to the challenge?
Now that the pay deal has been signed, we can look forward to another exciting summer of cricket and the Women’s Big Bash. But before we get there, we play England in the Ashes in November. Tickets went on sale this week and for just $10 you can watch players like Alex Blackwell, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning in action.
The Women’s Rugby World Cup is here
Having competed in a Tri Nations tournament earlier this year, and having team camp before they departed last week, the Wallaroos went into this World Cup better prepared than ever before. And it shows.
The Wallaroos played their first game against Ireland on Thursday morning, losing 19-17. Both sides were held to nil until the 21st minute, when Ireland scored through Larissa Muldoon, and each team eventually scored three tries, with conversions being the difference.
Mahalia Murphy was extremely impressive on debut, scoring the Wallaroos’ first try and showing some of the speed she was famous for in her sevens career.
Australia earned a losing bonus point and now sit on one point in their pool. Their next game is against France, at 4:45am (AEST) Monday.
There are two players I wanted to make special mention of in this squad.
Mollie Gray played after some hard work to be fit for the World Cup, having ruptured her ACL, PCL, MCL and dislocated her kneecap at the Brisbane Global Tens earlier this year. Despite her odds of playing in this World Cup being slim, Mollie was selected and will be a key member of the team against France.
Louise Burrows was called into the squad on Monday morning to replace an injured player. At 39, Louise has been one of the best set-piece hookers in women’s rugby and by all accounts was devastated to miss selection this year. Louise made her debut against England in 2001 and it is absolutely extraordinary that she is now being given the chance to compete in her fourth World Cup – with no signs of slowing down!
The countdown is on…
It is now less than 100 days until the Women’s Rugby League World Cup and this week, the Australian Jillaroos 40-woman squad was announced. This squad will go into camp in a couple of weeks and be further reduced as we get closer to the tournament.
Members of the New South Wales and Queensland teams which played in the Interstate Challenge last month are included, as are women from the Affiliated States and a member of the Australian Defence Force team.
Plenty of familiar faces have been named, including Sam Bremner, Kezie Apps, Ruan Sims, Allana Ferguson, Caitlin Moran, Maddie Studdon, Vanessa Foliaki, Karina Brown, Chelsea Baker, Ali Brigginshaw and Kody House.
But with plenty of fresh faces – like Isabelle Kelly, Talesha Quinn, Simone Smith, Jessica Sergis and Zahara Temara – there is going to be intense competition for those valuable final places in the squad.
All the women’s matches will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in November, with the final being a double-header with the men’s final at Suncorp Stadium on 2 December.