Footy no longer a male domain as Aussie women dominate in sport
Thursday 9 November 2017 10:59am
Picture caption: NSW Minister for Tourism & Major Events Adam Marshall, Savanna Greenwood (Football NSW Institute athlete), Jada Whyman (Young Matildas & WS Wanderers), Venues NSW Chairman Christine McLoughlin, NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres, Kezie Apps (NSW Rugby League), Ellie Carpenter (Matildas & Canberra United) and Rachael Haynes (Australian women's cricket captain) at the 2017 NRL Grand Final.
After a stellar year of historic victories, unprecedented media coverage and rousing support from the Australian public, women’s football (across all four codes) is undeniably at the top of its game. And we can thankfully say goodbye to the days of footy simply being the boys’ domain.
Matildas Making Headlines
The Westfield Matildas – Australia’s national women’s football (soccer) team – played to sell-out crowds against Brazil in Australia on the back of a stunning Tournament of Nations triumph in August. They are now a force to be reckoned with at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
As a backdrop to the recent achievements of the national women’s football team, Australia is bidding for the right to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Sydney’s significant investment in stadium infrastructure has made the city a clear favourite to host many matches, including the Final.
ANZ Stadium – the largest venue in NSW – has made 17-year-old Ellie Carpenter, a rising star of the Matildas, one of its elite sporting Ambassadors, working on sport, community and charity projects alongside big-name stars such as Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Luke Brooks, Josh Reynolds, Brett Emerton and Brendon Santalab.
In a win for fans and the W-League, ANZ Stadium will host a historic A-League/W-League Double Derby on Saturday 9 December, with the Western Sydney Wanderers hosting cross-city rivals Sydney FC in both the men’s and women’s competitions on the same day.
Young Matildas and Wanderers goalkeeper Jada Whyman takes pride of place on the cover of the recent STADIUM magazine. Pictured alongside male star Santalab, the highest goal-scorer in the history of the Wanderers’ club, she’s the future of women’s football in Australia and will undoubtedly one day join the likes of Sam Kerr, Kyah Simon and Lisa De Vanna as a household name.
Picture caption: Cover of Summer 2017/18 STADIUM magazine featuring Jada Whyman and Brendon Santalab ahead of the historic Double Derby.
Jillaroos Gearing Up for Rugby League World Cup
Just across the road from ANZ Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park, the NSW Rugby League’s new $20 million home and High Performance Centre is currently being constructed. Among the high-profile athletes representing the NSWRL at events this year is Kezie Apps, the female Dally M Medal winner of 2016 and star of the Australian Jillaroos.
The Jillaroos are among the favourites to take out the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup kicking off here in Australia on 16 November, with the Final at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 December.
Kezie Apps is also joining the ANZ Stadium team as a sporting Ambassador.
Rugby Sevens Soaring to New Heights
The Australian women’s Rugby Sevens team are the reigning Olympic champions after a significant victory at the Rio Games in 2016.
Rugby Sevens is among the fastest growing sports in the world and the number of women participating in the sport is enjoying a boom.
The exposure women's Rugby Sevens has gained from being a part of the Olympic program in Rio has accelerated this popularity.
The Future Is Bright
Venues NSW Chairman Christine McLoughlin (pictured below) said the Venues NSW network of stadiums is committed to supporting the health, fitness and wellbeing of every Australian. She said the State’s biggest venue ANZ Stadium understood and embraced the opportunity it had to make a positive difference in the community by supporting and promoting sport across NSW, and proudly embraced the endeavours and achievements of women in sport.
The success of Australian women's football teams across the board will have far-ranging implications for women's participation in sports and the potential for women to play professionally.
Media attention and coverage of the women’s games has already led to higher ticket sales, as evidenced by the Matildas’ recent appearances in Australia, and also to additional corporate sponsorships and historic pay deals for female athletes.
For the first time, elite female Rugby League players are now receiving professional contracts to represent NSW in the annual Interstate Challenge. And in a landmark decision for women’s Rugby League, the 30 players named in the NSW Women’s Pathways squad were this year offered paid contracts, providing a greater opportunity for female players in NSW.
There’s no denying that 2017 has been a game-changing year for women’s football. Australians are more engaged than ever – and our female athletes have everything it takes to deliver.
Picture caption: Venues NSW Chairman Christine McLoughlin with South Sydney Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis and Young Matildas and WS Wanderers goalkeeper Jada Whyman.