Mary’s Wonder Women: My favourite women in sport moments from 2017

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    At around this time last year, as I reflected on 2016, I knew that it had been a watershed 12 months for women in sport.

    Flash forward and I am reading plenty of articles labelling 2017 the same way.

    I have news for all of you: the women in sport revolution is here and it is only going to get bigger and better.

    Now, as 2017 closes, it is an opportune time to celebrate some of the special moments from the last year while remembering how far we still have to go.

    So, in no particular order, here are some of my favourite Australian women in sport moments from the past year.

    Australia retain the Ashes
    This year’s Ashes series was the first time tickets had been sold to women’s international matches in Australia. The nation responded – almost 30,000 people attended matches across the country to cheer on the Southern Stars as they took on England.

    What an advertisement for women’s cricket.

    Megan Schutt took 18 wickets (across all formats), Amanda-Jade Wellington bowled the ‘ball of this century’ to dismiss Tammy Beaumont and Beth Mooney hit the first century in women’s T20 cricket in Australia, with 19 fours and a six in her 117 at Manuka Oval.

    Congratulations to this talented group of women on retaining the Ashes.

    The Jillaroos win the Rugby League World Cup
    The Jillaroos came into the Rugby League World Cup with a clear mandate – to win. And they succeeded.

    With victories over the Cook Islands (58-4), England (38-0), Canada (88-0), Canada in the semi-finals (58-6) and New Zealand in the Final (23-16), the Jillaroos were able to send out outgoing captains Steph Hancock and Renae Kunst with the victory they deserved.

    Jillaroos

    (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    The NRL announces a women’s competition
    Next year, rugby league will change forever thanks to a historic announcement made earlier this month about changes to the elite women’s game.

    Next year will see the launch of the NRL Women’s Premiership, to be played in the lead up to and during the NRL finals as well as a number of other changes including the Interstate Challenge being replaced with a State of Origin match, additional representative opportunities for the Jillaroos (and the 40 women who will be contracted to play in this team).

    With this announcement the NRL sent a powerful message of diversity and inclusion making sure that women and girls that they are welcome in the rugby league family.

    In 2017 history was announced. In 2018 we will watch history happen.

    AFLW begins
    This was a moment in time in the history of the AFL with over 1000 people locked out of Princes Park for the first ever AFLW match between Carlton and Collingwood.

    24,500 people were there to watch Carlton defeat Collingwood. This set the tone for a remarkable season which saw names like Daisy Pearce, Moana Hope and Erin Phillips become household names with Adelaide winning the flag in a season of footy very few fans will forget.

    Amanda Farrugia GWS AFLW

    Super W announced
    Australian rugby also came to the women’s sport party this year with the announcement of a Super W competition. The competition will feature five teams – Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria and Western Australia – and will start in March 2018. The competition will run for six weeks and the final will be in April.

    This announcement was somewhat soured though when it came to light that the women playing in this competition will not be paid.

    I’m not sure how rugby can possibly have an expectation that these women will train, do media and wear jerseys with logos of Super Rugby teams, but all for free.

    I am for women being given the opportunity to pursue whatever sport they like – I hope that this competition is a runaway success and gives women in rugby some opportunities which they absolutely deserve.

    Sam Kerr takes over the world
    I’m really not sure what to say here other than congratulations to a woman who has demonstrated that she is one of the world’s best football players.

    Backflips. Three hat tricks. Front page of the SMH. 36 goals in 43 games for club and country. Named the ABC Sports Personality of the Year award at the AIS Sport Performance Awards.

    The best is yet to come for this remarkable woman.

    Sam Kerr – 2017 belongs to you.

    The Matildas beat the United States in the Tournament of Nations
    2017 was also the year that women’s football went mainstream in Australia thanks to a remarkable team called the Matildas.

    What a year they have had – beating the United States for the first time, winning the Tournament of Nations, selling out stadiums in Australia. It has been truly remarkable to watch.

    Who cares about women’s sport? It seems that plenty to as long as the product is exciting and entertaining. The Matildas tick both those boxes as well as being simply exceptional.

    The WNBL returns to television screens
    This may not have been one of the biggest moments of the year, but it was one of my favourites. I was delighted to see the WNBL return to broadcast this year, with Foxtel televising at least one game per week.

    2017 was also the year I became a fan of the Sydney University Flames – if you haven’t had the chance to watch the WNBL before, make that your 2018 new year’s resolution.

    The NSWRL Blues go back to back
    I get very little joy as a NSW Blues fan so this moment sticks out in my mind – the moment when the Blues went back to back for the first time ever in the history of the Interstate Challenge, beating Queensland 22-6.

    It was also the day everybody learnt who Jess Sergis was – the young woman who scored a hat trick on debut.

    Ellyse Perry – the centurion
    This was probably my favourite moment of the year – watching Ellyse Perry make 218* at North Sydney Oval in the historic day night Test.

    Ellyse Perry celebrates a century

    (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

    This moment did make me slightly sad though. This was Ellyse’s first century at an international level – imagine what she could do if women were given the opportunity to play Test cricket more regularly.

    Not only did Perry manage 213 not out and not only did she bowl a spell, but she also stayed behind after the game and signed autographs and took photographs with anyone who asked (including me!).

    On a personal note, I would like to thank you all for your support of me and of women in sport this year. Thank you for your continued advocacy and for continuing to show people that women in sport do matter.

    It’s been a remarkable year. But the best is yet to come.

    Here’s to 2017 and here’s to 2018 – I promise it will be another watershed year for women in sport.

    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 (11)

    • December 29th 2017 @ 12:42pm
      Not so super said | December 29th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

      Great list Mary. For more comments try and be negative like Mike Tuckerman

      • December 29th 2017 @ 2:45pm
        Onside said | December 29th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        Mikes Wonder men: My favourite men in sport moments from 2017.

    • December 29th 2017 @ 1:55pm
      The Sheriff said | December 29th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      Let’s all campaign for a dedicated FOX SPORT women’s sport only channel.

      • December 29th 2017 @ 7:30pm
        1st&10 said | December 29th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

        Most PC, sexist, SJW comment of the year

    • December 29th 2017 @ 7:28pm
      1st&10 said | December 29th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

      Who cares. No one cares about girls in Sport other than beach volley ball. Stop this charade of woman’s Sport being equal. When you can get the same crowds on their own abilities, Play 5 sets in tennis.

    • December 29th 2017 @ 10:27pm
      Jack said | December 29th 2017 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

      Nasty comment mate. I’d love to see you front up to EP in the nets. Not so brave I’ll bet. It’s between EP and Sam Kerr in my book. I love watching Kerr play. Dangerous. Wish the Socceroos had a striker of her quality.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 5:04pm
        I ate pies said | January 1st 2018 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

        Pfft, I’d punish Perry. Deadset, the quickest woman bowler is lucky to hit 110km/h. Teenage boys are quicker.

    • December 29th 2017 @ 10:56pm
      Maggie said | December 29th 2017 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

      Nice article Mary. I would add Ashleigh Barty to your list, Australia’s top-ranked tennis player – woman or man – and this year’s Newcombe Medallist after shooting up the world rankings from 272nd to No.17 in 2017. At only 21 she has the potential to go further in coming years. She is also humble with a grounded attitude to life having taken a year off from tennis to try other things (including cricket). So much to like and admire about this young woman.

      And thank you Mary for your very welcome articles on women’s sport over the past year. Women’s sport is in great shape with more to come in 2018.

    • December 30th 2017 @ 11:05am
      Onside said | December 30th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      Sally Pearson , 2017 110 m hurdle World Champion , comeback after injury.

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