With news this week of a new all Australian netball league in 2017 replacing the current ANZ Championship it would be a fair call to tag 2016 as the year that women’s sport in Australia moved into a league of its own. Oh by the way, did I mention that the new comp will be televised by Channel 9 in prime time with new franchises supported by heavyweight NRL and AFL clubs? Exciting times.
It’s not so surprising to those who followed the phenomenal success of women’s cricket this year from the WBBL gracing the small screen on Ten, the televising of the Southern Stars T20 series against India and Foxsports broadcasting the women’s T20 World Cup from India. And yes the Maidens watched bleary eyed from our couch as our Southern Stars went down valiantly in the World Cup final against the Windies.
Only last week the Jillaroos were given double billing with the Kangaroos with their Test against the Kiwi Ferns being telecast directly after the men on Channel 9. Today I see media floating the idea of a women’s NRL league – a proposal that is gaining momentum in the corridors of power.
The women’s inaugural AFL kicks off in early 2017 with applications to become a foundation club now closed and under assessment. And the Matildas continue on their “Road to Rio” with a stopover next month at Etihad stadium playing NZ in in a double header alongside the Socceroos.
I can’t think of a more exciting or high profile time for women’s sport in Australia and I am looking forward to the next 12 months. And in prime time baby!