Women’s sport weekly wrap: When too much sport is never enough

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    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.

    Ellyse Perry celebrates a century

    AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

    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.

    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 (27)

    • November 24th 2017 @ 7:32am
      Kangajets said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Sam Kerr scored a world class goal this Wednesday for Australia. What a star.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2017 @ 8:36am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        She is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment! I didn’t get to watch this game unfortunately because I was at the World Cup. But how wonderful!

    • Roar Pro

      November 24th 2017 @ 11:10am
      Alexander Clough said | November 24th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

      I would like to point out that while Channel 9 are clearly not cottoning on to the whole “women in sport thing”, ABC are making waves with the likes of Alison Mitchell, Karen Tighe, Shannon Byrne, Jen Browning, etc.

      Not sure what MMM and Macquarie are doing in this area though.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2017 @ 12:05pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

        Alex, Triple M have included Isa Guha in their team – a superstar woman who has not only played the game, but has also covered the game for many years.

        Seems almost everyone but Channel 9 get it.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 11:31am
      Steve Mcglashan said | November 24th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

      What channel nine have done Mary is assembled the best commentary team for the ashes with former greats that have played in the ashes people who can give an insight and been there done it. It’s the same as when I watch the netball (which I admire and enjoy) I want to hear what Liz Ellis says not some man who hasn’t been there. You don’t get jobs because of gender or the the new buzz words diversity or inclusiveness, you get them on experience and credibility, enough of the feminist BS

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2017 @ 12:04pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        Steve, sorry its attitudes like this that keep us miles behind.

        Because we all know that former players are ALWAYS the best commentators…. right?

        As for being there and having ‘done it’ – you are aware that women play in the Ashes right? So there’s certainly opportunity to include some of those diverse voices.

        You’ve done exactly what I’ve highlighted in my article – you’ve assumed I’m only talking about gender diversity and assumed that I’m questioning the credibility of the existing team. If Lisa Sthalekar was added to this team how would that negatively impact your Channel 9 experience.

        And you know who doesn’t get jobs based on gender – WOMEN. That’s why the majority of leadership positions in this country continue to be held by men.

        If we take your argument to its logical conclusion, then Michael Slater and Michael Clarke had no place commentating on the Women’s Ashes, because they haven’t ‘been there, done that’.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2017 @ 12:04pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        Also, enough of the sexist BS – thanks very much.

      • Roar Guru

        November 24th 2017 @ 3:14pm
        Mango Jack said | November 24th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

        We all know the CH9 commentary team is a club for ex-captains and their special mates. I understand there’s a place for those who have played at that level, and captains esp have great depth of analysis, but they are not always the most engaging speakers. Ian Chappell, for example, knows his cricket alright, but sounds like a busted drone and repeats himself so much it drives me mad. Yes, Ian, there should be someone fielding at short leg, but you’ve told us 5 times already!

        I’d like to see the commentary team enhanced by the inclusion of others outside the waspy old boys club.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 12:53pm
      Steve Mcglashan said | November 24th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

      What are we miles behind in? And yeah maybe Clarke and slater shouldn’t have been commentating on the women’s ashes and no I’m not sexist.

      • Columnist

        November 24th 2017 @ 1:02pm
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        We are miles behind a society that is gender equal.

        We are miles behind in a society where women are treated as equals.

        We are miles behind in women earning the same as men.

        We are miles behind women being represented appropriately in all facets of society.

        Right – so your point is that only people who have actually played in the specific event being telecast should be able to offer commentary? Then I suppose Mark Nicholas is out too because he never played in an Ashes series.

        • November 24th 2017 @ 4:54pm
          Steve Mcglashan said | November 24th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

          Mary Clementine isn’t a ghost writer for you is she? No I treat men and women equal, not sure why you would bring up the gender pay gap myth either. It sounds like the sexist person is you.

          • Columnist

            November 24th 2017 @ 5:00pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | November 24th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            If you think the gender pay gap is false, then I have no further time to engage with you.

            • November 24th 2017 @ 8:44pm
              Big Country said | November 24th 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

              Sorry Mary, but it is a myth, and here’s a couple of articles that explain why –

              http://time.com/3222543/wage-pay-gap-myth-feminism/

              and

              https://www.forbes.com/sites/karinagness/2016/04/12/dont-buy-into-the-gender-pay-gap-myth/#7d17f98e2596

              They’re both written by females (as if that should matter) and offer plenty of evidence to back up their case. But I bet you won’t read either of them. The fact that you seem to dismiss any counter argument outright makes me believe your opinion is based on ideologly/privilage rather then logic or equality.

              Also, I’ve noticed in your previous articles you seem to praise all female panels/commentary teams, and yet you criticise an all male one. You can’t have it both ways

              And laslty, using hyperbole such as “Miles behind” doesn’t help you case either. In other countries, where females can be criminally persecuted for doing things males take for granted, it might be useful to describe their plight. But to do it for women in a country like Australia, it seems a little exagerated and belittles the struggles that these other women face.

            • November 24th 2017 @ 9:33pm
              Pahul Gill said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

              I agree that more ‘diverse’ voices are necessary, if u want to call it that. The likes of Warne, Slater and Healy are terrible, others can’t do any worse. To be honest, does it really matter if u have even played Cricket? If u are a good public speaker that knows a fair bit about the game, you’ll do just fine. The analytics can be left to the experts, while the humor & jokes should be left for the public speakers. A great example is ‘shooterwilliamson’ (check out his INDvAUS video on Youtube) or ‘Ozzy Man Reviews’.

              Although, I do not agree with ur opinion on women in society. The gender wage gap is a myth, over 90% of economists have brutally denied it & called it ‘idiotic’. The 77c on the dollar theory is calculated as a mean for all jobs, not counting the fact that high paying jobs such as doctors, lawyers, bankers are ALL dominated by men while low paying jobs like nurses, maids, social workers are ALL dominated by women. Also, women have to take care of children & due to the stress, more often than not they are forced to work less hours than their males colleagues thus miss out on bonuses and extra pay. There are also many other reasons which contribute to this. Seriously, don’t tell me ur going to challenge these economists, especially since they have spent years in uni earning a degree, and published academic papers on topics just like this!

              This is an article by a female student at Harvard with a degree in economics explaining the whole thing!

              http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-economist-explains-the-gender-wage-gap-2016-3

              If u want a more visual option, than this video should explain the gender wage gap as well.

              As for equality, what more do women want? I think u should definitely read into the hypocrisy of ‘modern feminism’. Believe in LOGIC and FACTS, not feelings! Look, I am a liberal myself but that doesn’t mean I believe in things, just because people say its true. u should question everything, that is wt got humans to where we are today!

              • November 25th 2017 @ 11:28pm
                Big Country said | November 25th 2017 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t agree more Pahul

                The channel 9 commentary team is in decent need of a shake up. And any person, male or female, to replace the likes of Healy or Warne etc would be an improvement.

                What I can’t stand though, is when some use utter BS to justify the need for change.

                So come on Mary. If you really have any real evidence to the contary relating to the gender wage myth that me and Pahul have supplied, please enlighten us. Unlike some, I ‘m all for changing my point of view if evidence and logic dictates.

                But I know you won’t. You’re only interested in an echo chamber thats repeats your your emotional beliefs and falls in line with your ideology (refer to the posts who you respond positivley to). Logic and truth be dammed as you might say.

                I

        • November 24th 2017 @ 9:53pm
          Fight Fair said | November 24th 2017 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

          Mary you are right men and women should be treated as equals. We shouldnt have an Australian mens team and an Australian womens team, we should just have an Australian team if you are good enough you get pickedvregardless of sex.

    • November 24th 2017 @ 3:18pm
      Maggie said | November 24th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

      I’m actually surprised that Channel 9 didn’t learn from the success of the TV coverage of the women’s Ashes matches. The women commentators for that series were both expert in their knowledge and highly professional in their delivery without all the irrelevant nonsense we often hear in commentary during the men’s matches. They also seemed to have a positive influence on the male commentators who called the games in a more mature fashion than we usually hear from Channel 9. The inclusion of a couple of those women commentators for the men’s Ashes would have been an overall improvement to the panel.

    • Roar Guru

      November 24th 2017 @ 3:20pm
      Mango Jack said | November 24th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

      The Matildas are dead set the best national team to watch at the moment, across all sports and genders. They play a fast paced, high-skilled attacking style of football that is a joy to watch. Some terrific highlights of the game against China on Wed, but none better than Sam Kerr’s 2nd goal. Her 1st had a slice of good luck, coming off the back of her hear, but her next was absolutely top shelf. A rocket from 20 yards that left the tall Chinese keeper swatting at thin air.

      • November 24th 2017 @ 7:47pm
        Kangajets said | November 24th 2017 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

        The Matilda’s are playing at a world class standard. Let’s hope it brings a World Cup

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