Women’s sport weekly wrap: AFLW continues to dominate the news cycle

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

24 Have your say

    Each week in preparation for writing this piece, I spent half an hour each morning scouring the news looking for my favourite stories in women’s sport.

    So when Roarers comment that I have missed something, in some circumstances it’s me making a choice to include news about one sport rather than another, while in other cases it’s because I just haven’t seen the news.

    That’s a challenge to all the writers out there who have a passion about women in sport – if you don’t think there is enough coverage about your favourite sport, rather than complain about it, I encourage you to write something yourself. The more stories out there about women in sport the better.

    And on that note, I’m just going to come out with it and say it – the AFL media cycle is a beautiful machine.

    This week, despite the AFLW season having been over for several months, the AFL has done an exceptional job at making sure the competition stays front of mind with plenty of stories and coverage about diversity, particularly gender diversity in the AFL.

    There was the news that the Richmond Tigers expect to be granted an AFL Women’s licence when the competition expands in 2019. The process for bidding for a license started last week and you should be prepared for plenty more coverage as the teams without a license try to convince us and the AFL why they should be granted one in the coming weeks.

    There was also the news that the AFL was named the inaugural winner of the Pride in Sport Index Organisation of the Year Award at the ACON 2017 Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards and that St Kilda had won the award for the Most Inclusive Club.

    It’s also draft period at the moment so player transfers have also been in the media including that Nicola Stevens has been drafted by Carlton from Collingwood, Jamie Lambert will be playing for Collingwood next year and the new members of the GWS Giants squad are Alicia Eva from Collingwood, Pepa Randall and Maddie Boyd.

    With plenty of clubs still yet to make selections you still can’t be sure that your favourite player is guaranteed to stay at your club next year.

    No matter how big or small the piece of news, the fact that all of this is making the news cycle means that AFLW continues to be front of mind and despite next season being several months away, it means that people all over the country are still talking about women in footy.

    Perhaps there’s a lesson here for some of our other sports – even if it means that they need to get better at flooding the media with stories about diversity and inclusion in sport.


    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Is it possible for the Wallabies and the mens’ Australian rugby sevens sides to co-exist?

    Of course it is.

    So then why do people keep asking whether the same is true for the Australian Wallaroos and the Aussie Pearls?

    Both sevens and XVs rugby are capable of thriving in the Australian landscape and here’s why.

    Australians love sport and for so many of us, watching the Aussie Pearls win gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics was one of our favourite sporting moments of last year.

    In particular, if the Wallaroos can achieve similar dominance on the world stage, particularly considering that the Wallabies are struggling at the moment, I see an environment where both formats of the game are celebrated and young women can make a choice about which format they would rather play.

    It’s been an exceptional year for both formats of the game, with plenty more to come.

    The Wallaroos will be playing in a World Cup in Ireland in August, but before that, Australia will tour New Zealand to play New Zealand, Canada and England in June. This series will ensure that in terms of game time, the Wallaroos will have been the most prepared for a World Cup that they have ever been.

    I won’t lie – the series in New Zealand is going to be challenging for the Wallaroos. The teams that the Wallaroos are competing against are the top-ranked women’s rugby teams in the world. But this exposure to the best in the world will give the Wallaroos exceptional preparation ahead of the World Cup and we shouldn’t write them off.

    In the past, the Wallaroos have proved that they are fighters.

    This team competed in New Zealand last year and lost all three games. However, the margin for these losses more than halved in between their first game (67-2) and their third (29-3). This was the first time that the Wallaroos had played a Test in over two years.

    What the results tell me is that the Wallaroos are a team that will improve significantly with the opportunity to play and the series in June will certainly provide that opportunity.

    There was also a significant announcement made in rugby sevens this week being that the Sydney Sevens weekend next year will begin on Australia Day meaning that the men’s and women’s competitions will be run concurrently over three days. This is a first for the tournament, worldwide.

    You might recall that last year, the Pearls played their quarter-final on Kippax Field, while the men’s competition continued in Allianz Stadium. A decision which, considering the Pearls were Olympic champions, did not sit right with me.

    I want to congratulate the ARU on pushing for our Sevens series to be swapped with New Zealand and giving the Aussie Pearls the opportunity to play their entire tournament at Allianz Stadium – an opportunity which they well and truly deserve.

    Sharni Williams and Sam Myers

    (By Destination NSW)

    Rugby League
    Finally, I would also like to take a moment to say thank you to Raelene Castle, who yesterday announced her resignation from the Canterbury Bulldogs which will be effective from the end of the year.

    Raelene is an exceptionally talented administrator and a person who has always encouraged women that if they want to play a role in rugby league then ‘they need to put their hand up’ and get involved.

    She is a person I have always looked up to and a person that has always taken the time to support other young women in the industry.

    I want to wish her the very best in whatever her next adventure may be.

    Mary Konstantopoulos
    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Mary Konstantopoulos is a lawyer, sports advocate and proud owner and founder of the Ladies Who empire, including Ladies who League, Ladies who Legspin, Ladies who Lineout and Ladies who Leap. You can find her podcast on iTunes and find her on Twitter @mary__kaye and @ladieswholeague.

    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Guru

      May 26th 2017 @ 8:26am
      mds1970 said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Among the AFLW movements you can add Tayla Harris to Carlton. She’ll be a loss for Brisbane – I did The Roar’s live blog of the game in Freo when her heroics got the Lions over the line.

    • May 26th 2017 @ 8:44am
      Swanny said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Emily van egmond won a title in Germany . You know football, the round ball game . Emily would arguably be the best Aussie women’s player at thr moment.

      • Columnist

        May 26th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Another great sporting moment this week – thanks for sharing, Swanny!

        • May 26th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          Lionheart said | May 26th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          another? but all the sports you mention have not played this week. It’s all noise. A rather odd article, all about nothing.

          • Columnist

            May 26th 2017 @ 1:49pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 26th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            It’s interesting right, because when we talk about men’s sport it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about scheduling or player signings and movements or opinions about the strategy and direction of the sports. When it’s done for women’s sport – it’s instead taken as a nothing article.

            • May 26th 2017 @ 1:55pm
              Lionheart said | May 26th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

              not at all Mary, but the noise should be second tier to any actual sports achievements in the week, don’t you think?

              • Roar Guru

                May 26th 2017 @ 2:04pm
                Cat said | May 26th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Its up to you to prioritise what you read first Lionheart

              • Columnist

                May 26th 2017 @ 2:12pm
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 26th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                I find writing about issues more compelling than listing achievements – sharing exceptional achievements is what I use my twitter/facebook feeds for.

              • May 26th 2017 @ 2:25pm
                Lionheart said | May 26th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

                Maybe change the headline to ‘what’s in the news’ as I was led to your article under false pretences

              • Roar Guru

                May 26th 2017 @ 2:29pm
                Cat said | May 26th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

                Author’s don’t chose their own headlines …

              • Columnist

                May 26th 2017 @ 2:37pm
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 26th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

                I wish I could give you back the 2 minutes you lost by having to read my article.

              • May 26th 2017 @ 5:49pm
                Lionheart said | May 26th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

                don’t worry about the 2 minutes, I have plenty of those
                just offering advice, no need to feel offended
                women in cycling – our own Orica girls in camp, tennis, soccer, swim, , big northern summer ahead, and plenty more around the globe at present

    • Editor

      May 26th 2017 @ 8:49am
      Josh Elliott said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      I’ve been really impressed by how active the AFLW trade period has been – plenty of players moving clubs, and big names too.

      Carlton with Stevens and Harris coming in have gone up to premiership favourites for mine, though they gave up a lot – Exon, Ayre, Jakobsson are all quality players.

      If Ayre continues to develop well, the Lions won’t be that much worse off, though failing to hold onto a Brisbane-born superstar in Harris is still a major disappointment.

      • Columnist

        May 26th 2017 @ 8:55am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Josh, I really think that it’s a credit to the AFL and all the Clubs. Despite it being the off season, AFLW continues to be front of mind for me in a big way.

        • May 26th 2017 @ 10:34pm
          McNaulty said | May 26th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          Mary, I dont mean to be pessimistic but with John Grant and Greenberg losing more power to the clubs this week watch for the commitment that Greenberg gave you regarding women in League to fade out. It will be the first thing cut adrift by the clubs. They dont see “what is in it for us”. If women want an WNRL comp you are going to need to make it happen yourselves.

      • Roar Guru

        May 26th 2017 @ 9:16am
        Paul D said | May 26th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

        You seem to think we deliberately pushed her out – honestly Josh you’ve got no idea sometimes

        Stick to Victoria and Tasmanian footy old son

        • Roar Guru

          May 26th 2017 @ 10:05am
          TomC said | May 26th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Something of a habit Josh has of insisting that the exodus from northern clubs is the northern clubs’ fault.

          It’s frustrating how the argument keeps shifting. Once the Lions’ loss of players must have been their fault because the Suns weren’t losing players. Then the Suns lost players and the argument became they must both be doing something wrong. At other times we’re told it’s because these clubs keep losing, but the women’s team goes within a kick of an undefeated season and it’s still somehow our failing.

          Melbourne is the centre of footy, maybe for Australian sport in general. That’s where the most opportunities are, and that’s where young athletes want to develop their careers. This gives Melbourne based AFL teams an advantage in recruiting and retaining players. I wouldn’t have thought any of that was arguable, but it seems very hard for some to acknowledge.

      • May 26th 2017 @ 9:30am
        Mickyo said | May 26th 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        Yes Harris, to use a Tarzan and Jane analogy, she looks like Jane and sometimes plays like her.

        She has talent, get on with playing and stop the niggling and playing for free kicks.

        • Roar Guru

          May 26th 2017 @ 1:08pm
          TomC said | May 26th 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

          She’s a super athlete. Maybe the best in the AFLW. But she’s very young and has a lot of growing up to do, as do all teenagers.

          I’ve no doubt she’ll be a brilliant player for the Blues. Carlton fans should be very excited.

      • Editor

        May 26th 2017 @ 10:27am
        Josh Elliott said | May 26th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Fair comment fellas, didn’t mean to come across so harshly on the Lions & others. I don’t think the northern clubs can be called blameless but it’s fair to say I could do more sometimes to acknowledge the other factors that make up the problem, which for the most part are beyond the clubs’ control.

    • May 26th 2017 @ 4:26pm
      Gyfox said | May 26th 2017 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

      Here’s something that you will like, Mary. Each day I read lots of footy online from our various daily newspapers. This week I opened up several articles without knowing they were AFLW – I just assumed they were about the 18 AFL clubs. What this means is that reports of women footballers are taking their place alongside the men, without any differentiation that it is about women. This is surely progress for women’s sport!

    • May 26th 2017 @ 4:49pm
      Alicesprings said | May 26th 2017 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

      Will be interesting to see how many spots AFLW clubs keep on their list for new draftees.

      Also how many of the new draftees will come directly from the U18 national champs?? Time will tell.

    , , ,