Women’s World Cups part of NSW’s strategic bidding plans

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert

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    Australia's Rachel Haynes batting. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    This week the New South Wales government signalled its intention to be a heavy hitter in the sporting event space over the next ten years with a strategic decision announced on Monday to bid for ten world cups in the next ten years.

    When it comes to women’s sport, I always say it is important to celebrate how far we have come, while continuing to strive to be better because we still have a very long way to go.

    The progress that has been made by all our sports together in the last couple of years was on show during this announcement though, with plenty of the events that the Government is bidding for being in the women’s sport space including the Women’s ICC World T20 in 2020, the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, the Netball World Cup in 2027 and the Rugby League World Cup 2029.

    But where are each of these sports right now, and what would hosting a major event in New South Wales to do increase their popularity and encourage more women and girls to play each sport?

    Women’s ICC World T20 in 2020
    When sports fans talk about the growth in women’s sport, often AFL is credited as being the sport that kick-started the revolution. When I talk about the kickstart though, I tend to credit cricket with their standalone women’s competition, the WBBL heading into its fourth season this year.

    The good news about this event is that the Women’s ICC World T20 is already going to be hosted in Australia in 2020, so I am confident that NSW cricket fans will have the opportunity to watch the Australian Women’s Cricket Team in action.

    By that point, the fifth instalment of the WBBL will have been played and the standard of women’s cricket will have only increased. I noticed a significant increase in standard between WBBL02 and WBBL03 which is no surprise considering the international talent which continues to be drawn to this competition from countries like India and England, as well as the increased opportunity for the Southern Stars to compete internationally.

    We saw plenty of milestones reached in WBBL03 as early as Opening Weekend, including the first team to score 200 runs – by the time the Women’s ICC World T20 begins, perhaps 200 will be the new standard with teams aiming as high as 250-275 runs.

    Hurricanes batter Emma Thompson plays a shot during the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) T20 semi-final match between the Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba in Brisbane, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021
    This is the World Cup that I think has the most potential to disrupt the women’s sport space in this country. All the other events have teams like the Southern Stars, the Matildas and the Jillaroos who are established and are becoming increasingly well known among the Australian public.

    When it comes to women’s rugby, the strength of the 7s product cannot be questioned, but there is still work to be done in the XV space, particularly in relation to the Wallaroos.

    Rugby Australia has been busy over the last year. The Super W was announced and in August this year, the Wallaroos will play a doubleheader with the Wallabies for the first time on Australian soil in a historic New Zealand series. But the reality is, very few Australians can name a Wallaroo.

    The potential this World Cup has is immense. Not just to shine a light on women’s rugby, but also to give young women who are considering giving rugby a go something exciting to look forward to.

    With Josephine Sukkar backing this World Cup in, I would be very surprised if Australia was not successful.

    FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023
    World Cup fever has just ended in the men’s space, with Australia bowing out during the group stage.

    If there is a sporting team that has captured the imagination of the Australian public over the last year it certainly has been the Matildas – from their win at the Tournament of Nations last year to Sam Kerr and her backflips, women’s football is on the rise and there is genuine excitement around the national team.

    Matildas Football 2017

    (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

    The difference between the Socceroos and the Matildas is that the Matildas are a genuine hope of winning the World Cup in 2023, particularly if they continue to grow and develop as they have over the last couple of years. How magical for women’s sport and Australian football to get the opportunity to see a victory on Australian soil.

    Netball World Cup in 2027
    International netball was shaken this year when England defeated Australia at the Commonwealth Games. This is a sign that Australia and New Zealand are not the only dominant teams when it comes to netball and that the rest of the world is beginning to catch up.

    Before we get to 2027 and if NSW wants to be in a strong position to put in a bid, we need more large netball venues. At the moment, the only viable options are the Quay Centre (which netball has outgrown), QUDOS Bank Arena (which is not always available…just ask Netball NSW what they are going to do if GIANTS Netball secure a home final heading into the Suncorp Super Netball Finals) and the ICC Centre, which is not really suitable for netball.

    In all the talk about stadiums, one of the sports that has not had a look in is netball. This absolutely needs to change if NSW wants to win this bid.

    Rugby League World Cup 2029
    The Australian Jillaroos are currently the Rugby League World Cup champions after defeating the New Zealand Ferns 23-16. So much has happened since that victory.

    The NRL announced its inaugural women’s competition, the Interstate Challenge was rebranded as State of Origin and 40 Jillaroos have been placed on contract and are considered the most elite women in the game.

    Can you imagine where we will be in 11 years time?

    Hopefully with at least another four women’s rugby league teams, a three-game State of Origin series and a fully functioning pathway from age four to elite. The talent on show last year was incredible, imagine how much further the women’s game will develop in the next 10 years. I wonder if Kezie Apps will still be playing?

    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 (7)

    • Roar Guru

      July 27th 2018 @ 8:35am
      Wayne said | July 27th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Any of the World Cups would be an amazing boost. I was surprised Australia pulled out of the bidding for the Field Hockey World cup, as we still have the facilities from the Olympics.

      The Hockeyroos are amazing, and have nailed the branding/crowd interactions for a “low profile” sport. They are currently competing in the World Cup in London right now 🙂

      • July 27th 2018 @ 8:54am
        Onside said | July 27th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

        Not peaky boo about field hockey Wayne, and yet in International racing parlance
        the sport always competes in ‘GROUP 1’ .

        Likewise in another International group 1 just finished , The Matilda’s 3 d Brazil 1.

        • July 27th 2018 @ 11:50am
          Onside said | July 27th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          I was not referring to the coverage the game received in this article,
          but rather, it got little coverage in general sporting media that I saw.

    • July 27th 2018 @ 1:58pm
      reuster75 said | July 27th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

      Getting the football world cup in 2023 would do wonders for the game in Australia (especially if heading into the tournament Australia were the reigning world champions) and if done properly it could create a fantastic opportunity for the w-league to become a world class league. Imagine the caliber of players that could be attracted by the prospect of playing in the country that will host the next world cup. It would also present a great opportunity for women’s sport in general as other sports would have to really lift their game.

    • July 27th 2018 @ 4:43pm
      Brian said | July 27th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

      From the sports mentioned I’d really like the focus to be on Netbal and Football. I’ve never seen evidence of a large number of girls playing Rugby union, rugby league, afl or cricket. They may exist somewhere but in terms of mass penetration only Netball and Football get high numbers.

      Not surprising then that from the events listed above I would suggest only the Netball or Football World Cups would get mainstream media coverage

    • Roar Guru

      July 27th 2018 @ 5:32pm
      Adam Hayward said | July 27th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

      I still think the focus should be women’s test cricket

    • July 27th 2018 @ 11:04pm
      Glen said | July 27th 2018 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

      I agree with Wayne. Why not the Women’s Hockey World Cup. Biggest women’s sporting event ever hosted in the UK boasting already 100,000 tickets sold at just the pool stages. 16 nations currently competing that are actually competitive and have played the sport for years. Hockeyroos always competitive with real world class athletes. We had sold out crowds at very Australia match at the commonwealth games; despite the best (Dutch, Germans, Argentina, USA etc…) not being present.

      Maybe we would be just out bidded by the big European, American and Asian nations….

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