Women’s sport weekly wrap: Cricket lead the way with historic pay deal

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    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.

    Meg Lanning. Photo via Cricket Australia

    Photo via Cricket Australia

    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.

    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.

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • August 11th 2017 @ 7:13am
      Sherry said | August 11th 2017 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Thanks for the rundown, Mary. I read that the English rugby team is the only pro team playing in Dublin. Do I recall the ARU pulling funding from the women some time back? Re Ireland’s win, one report says that Treherne was unable to add the extra two points after the ball fell off the tee just as she was about to kick the conversion. Windy conditions or sloppy technique? So far, the following is my favourite quote from the tourney – “France thrashed 14-man Japan 72-14 in the other match in Pool C.”

      • Columnist

        August 11th 2017 @ 9:02am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Thanks for your kind words, sherry! I’m not sure whether funding was pulled by the ARU… but I hope that wasn’t the case.

        It’s interesting, I know the Wallaroos have only played one game but they were absolutely competitive – it’s amazing what a camp and some pre-tournament preparation can do right?

        I’ll do a bit more investigating into the conditions and see if I can find anything.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 12:30pm
      Onside said | August 11th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      Where do you see the long term, fully entrenched, additional fan support coming from.

      As a percentage of fans/ viewers for one sport to gain 5% , another has to lose 5%.

      I am discounting one off events like Womens Rugby 7’s tournaments, or the Womens
      Rugby League WC , that are special weekend outings rather than weekly competitons.

      EG ,The Melbourne Cup rates well on TV , is well supported by women, but that support
      does not reflect on horse racing in general, which is struggling to attract people.

      If womens sport was structured on a weekly basis, do you think more women could be
      entised to watch womens sport . (Or watch a game live )

      There’s always at least two TV sets in house these days, and if the male watches his
      weekly rugby league , do you think women could be encouraged to watch women play
      a sport on the other set. ( My wife only watches SOO and grandfinals ) .

      There is so much sport televised these days, ,including overseas comps, I struggle to
      see where there is room (outside of womens events) for males to support more.

      The biggest challenge is getting more women to watch woman play. Blokes are full up .

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 3:41pm
        mds1970 said | August 11th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

        Support for sport isn’t necessarily a zero sum game. Growth in one sport doesn’t have to come at the expense of another.
        We’ve seen initiatives grow in womens sport in the last couple of years with the advent of WBBL & AFLW. I can’t see how any other sport has lost out because of that. Has any other sport, female or male, seen a decline in fans of viewership directly attributable to WBBL or AFLW?
        And I don’t see why the blokes can’t get behind womens sport? Plenty of women are supporting mens sport. Being a GWS Giants diehard has also given me a team to support in AFLW and Super Netball; which I’ve certainly enjoyed this year.

        It certainly adds to a full sporting calendar. But that’s a good thing!

        • August 11th 2017 @ 4:39pm
          Onside said | August 11th 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

          mds1970, yeah I get it. And womens big bash / womens AFL are in diferent time slots.

          So your point is taken, blokes will watch it, so long as it doesnt conflict with their faves.

          ( I know nothing of Super Netball, but there seems to be big money behind it )

          The bottom line is ‘it’s all sport’, and the only thing that matters is ‘did you enjoy it’

          My uncertainty, one I struggle to articulate , revolves around the concept of wanting to
          be paid to play a sport just you are good at it.

        • August 11th 2017 @ 4:57pm
          Yawn said | August 11th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

          Women dont even watch womens sport.

    • August 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm
      Kangajets said | August 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      Oh my god Mary. Take your blinkers off
      Afl does not lead the participation at all

      Have u heard of netball football and basketball

      Please can we have an unbiased journo rather then Mary

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2017 @ 8:21pm
        mds1970 said | August 11th 2017 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

        You want “an unbiased journo”?
        On the top of the screen is a button that looks like a pen. Go for it, fire away!

        • August 11th 2017 @ 9:00pm
          Kangajets said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

          Yeah mds. I just did write , maybe u can’t read yet

          I like a journo that doesn’t make up her own facts . I’m happy to make my own opinion

          • August 11th 2017 @ 9:40pm
            northerner said | August 11th 2017 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

            Actually, you’re quite right. Netball is far and away the biggest team sport for women (I think swimming and athletics are bigger at the individual level) followed by football and basketball. And basketball has always been in the forefront of women’s pro sports here and worldwide.

      • August 12th 2017 @ 1:28am
        Ben Brown said | August 12th 2017 @ 1:28am | ! Report

        What do you expect from a feminist journalist, constantly overpraising the women’s game while talking about how they are ‘partners’ in the game even they bring in no money.

        • August 12th 2017 @ 8:05pm
          northerner said | August 12th 2017 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

          There are a lot of men’s sports that don’t bring in money. That’s why taxpayers are always on the hook for stadium upgrades and financing “elite” sports. If I have to pay for men in sailboats, I’m happy enough to kick in a few dollars for women in rugby 7s.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 11:56pm
      Ben said | August 13th 2017 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

      The big issue for cricket is that in some states (WA for one) is that there is no infrastructure supporting the top league ( ie big bash and western fury). There are 5 first grade teams, 5 second grade teams which are often short of players and no senior female community cricket.
      Hopefully it will evolve but currently it is pretty easy to get a gig.

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