This article was first written for and published by The Roar.
On Wednesday, as I watched the Australian Jillaroos smash the Canada Ravens, I realised I was exhausted.
Between the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, the women’s Ashes, the Matildas in the midst of a two-game friendly series against China, the W-League and the WNBL, I’m struggling to keep up with it all.
What a problem to have!
It’s important that we celebrate how far women’s sport has come in this country, while not forgetting how far we still have to go.
Last weekend, viewers could watch the cricket on 9Gem or the Jillaroos on 7Mate. I could not have contemplated this choice two years ago and it is a testament to our sports and how hard they have focused on the promotion of women’s sport.
Speaking of the Southern Stars, they lost the final two T20 games of the Ashes, seeing England tie things up 8-8. Because Australia won the series the last time it was played, we retain the urn.
My fondest highlight was Ellyse Perry’s 213* in the Test at North Sydney Oval. To see Ellyse not only get her first ever century in international cricket, but do it in her home state, with family and plenty of supporters watching, was very special.
Additionally, Beth Mooney had an excellent T20 series with the bat, making a century in the final match. Beth now holds the highest score in a T20 that’s been held in Australia, eclipsing the record formerly held by Charlotte Edwards in 2014, of 92*. Additionally, on her way to her century, Beth hit the most fours in a women’s T20 (19), scored the second highest individual score, behind Meg Lanning’s 126, and has scored the most runs in a bilateral women’s T20 series.
Megan Schutt was a stand out in the bowling attack and now holds the record for the most amount of wickets taken in women’s Ashes.
One final highlight was seeing the amount of people in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra who went to watch some good cricket. It means that we go into the WBBL with plenty of momentum.
Jillaroos through to the WRL World Cup semi-finals
It was all too easy for the Jillaroos in their final pool match.
Australia scored more points than minutes in the game, defeating the Ravens 88-0, with hat tricks to Zahara Temara, Vanessa Foliaki, Elliana Walton and Karina Brown.
But success brings its own challenges. So far, Australia has defeated the Cook Islands 58-4, England 38-0 and Canada 88-0.
In the first two games, coach Brad Donald opted to use Caitlin Moran at number 7. Caitlin played well in these games, striking up a solid combination with five-eighth Ali Brigginshaw.
However, when finally given her opportunity at halfback against the Canucks, Maddie Studdon was out to impress, scoring a try and setting up six.
Additionally, Zahara Temara (also a half) has been playing in a variety of positions, meaning Donald is spoilt for choice.
The Jillaroos are also strong in the outside backs – we haven’t even seen Sam Bremner play yet because she has been rested to ensure she is fully fit following an ankle injury sustained during the Interstate Challenge in July.
Rest assured though, when the Jillaroos run out on Sunday to play the Ravens again, there will be firepower all over the field. On that, if you support women in league, this weekend you need to walk the walk.
The Jillaroos’ match on Sunday is the final World Cup match in Sydney and one of the last opportunities you will have to watch footy for 2017.
Australia are just one game away from playing in consecutive Rugby League World Cup finals and deserve to play in front of a capacity crowd at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Get yourselves down there – you won’t be disappointed.
Diversity in commentary
Last Friday, Channel Nine announced its commentary team for the men’s Ashes series.
Headlining the team for the 40th year in a row was Bill Lawry, being joined by Ian Healy, Michael Slater, Mark Taylor, Ian Chappell, Michael Clarke, Shane Warne, Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen and Mark Nicholas.
When I pointed out the lack of diversity in this team, I was asked:
Why have you turned this into a man versus woman thing?
Who would you sack and who would you include instead?
Firstly, diversity is about more than gender. Sport should embrace socioeconomic, racial, geographic and gender diversity. This isn’t about men versus women, it’s about making our sports inclusive and welcoming for everyone.
Secondly, diversity is not about winning and losing. It is not about taking something from someone and giving it to someone else. Instead of wondering who to sack, what about just adding another voice to the team?
When there is diversity we get richness in view, opinion and thought. It encourages people to think in a different way and sends a clear message of inclusiveness.
I see no losers here – only winners.