This article was first written for and published by The Roar.
Are you a sports fan? Are you a supporter of women in sport? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then I want you to prove it.
I read plenty of articles and social commentary lamenting the fact that women’s sport doesn’t get enough coverage, and that the athletes don’t get paid enough or receive the recognition they deserve.
While these statements are true, do you know what would really change the game?
Bums on seats.
Bums on seats tells the broadcasters that people are interested in the product. It makes sponsors and advertisers (who often only view things in terms of dollar signs) think these teams and events are a worthwhile investment.
Most of all, it means plenty to the athletes on the field, who look out into the crowd and see faces cheering for them.
And this weekend, if you are based in Sydney, you have several opportunities.
It starts today, with the day-night Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval, in a series that’s delicately poised.
Australia currently lead 4-2, after winning the first two ODIs, with England bouncing back to claim the third. Victory in this match will see Australia rewarded with four points and thus reclaim the Ashes, which they won two years ago.
The original 15-player squad named last month was reduced to 13 following the Southern Stars’ practice match against the ACT Meteors earlier this week. Leg-spinner Kristen Beams and fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa were omitted, with two additional players to be culled when the final team list is released later today.
The current squad includes five uncapped Test players: Ashleigh Gardner, Tahlia McGrath, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Beth Mooney and Lauren Cheatle.
History will be made regardless, as this will be the first time that tickets have been sold to a women’s Test match in Australia, and it’s also the first time that the Australian women will play in a day-night Test.
You have an opportunity to come on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, with Day 3 being set aside as ‘Pink Day’. Two dollars from each ticket sold for the duration of the Test will go toward the McGrath Foundation, raising crucial funds for the provision of breast care nurses across the country.
Tickets are literally ten dollars – the cheapest day at the cricket you will ever have – so bring your family and friends, and watch the Aussies reclaim the Ashes.
If cricket isn’t your thing (I understand, it’s hot and you don’t want to get sunburnt), there’s plenty more happening.
On Friday night, at 7:30pm at Marconi Stadium, the Western Sydney Wanderers will play the Brisbane Roar FC for Round 3 of the W-League.
Brisbane and Western Sydney have each won one game and lost another to start off the season.
The Wanderers will look to make it two in a row after a 2-1 win over Adelaide last weekend, thanks to a goal by Rosie Sutton in stoppage time.
Brisbane, on the other hand, suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Perth, with Rachel Hill scoring a hat-trick and Sam Kerr nailing a penalty goal. All signs point to a promising season ahead for the Glory, who have scored eight goals in just two rounds.
While the Matildas have gone from strength to strength this year, it’s important Australia maintains a high profile domestically, so our aspiring footballers have a strong pathway to the elite level.
If neither cricket or football is your thing, then the WNBL is for you.
at 3pm on Saturday, the Sydney University Flames will play the Melbourne Boomers at Brydens Stadium. This game will be televised on Fox Sports so it’s extremely important that people turn out to watch what is going to be an excellent game of basketball.
Sydney are currently top of the ladder, with eight wins and two losses, while Melbourne are fifth, with five wins and four losses.
The last time these two teams met (only a couple of weeks ago), the Flames won 65-56, but the Boomers were certainly off their game. After ten minutes, Melbourne had only scored nine points and already trailed by 12 points. The second quarter saw the Boomers shooting at below 20 per cent success. Things got slightly better for them in the second half, but not enough to earn victory.
Elizabeth Cambage was also clearly agitated on the evening, only managing 19 points compared to Asia Taylor’s 27.
Regardless, the Flames need to be on their game – the Boomers won’t make the same mistakes again.
Basketball. Cricket. Football. No matter your sport of choice, there is something for everyone this weekend.
So if you talk the talk, it’s time to walk the walk – our women in sport are exceptional, get out there and support them.
We also have a Rugby League World Cup to look forward to, with the Australian Jillaroos in action for the first time on Wednesday – but more on that next week.
See you at the cricket.