sports

For women's sport in Australia, 2019 has been a monumental year.

Can you hear that? That rumble, getting ever louder?

It is the Australian crowds, cheering and chanting. Lean in, listen closely to these screams of fans young and old, girls and boys, from Cape York to Carlton.

It’s the sound of Australia, waking up to the power of their inspiring female athletes.

Watch: What does it take to be an Aussie sporting hero? Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Women’s sport in Australia has enjoyed unparalleled success in 2019. Our star sportswomen have soared to new heights and the crowds have been there to cheer them on.

In March, a record 53,034 spectators assembled at the Adelaide Oval for the AFLW grand final. In November, over 20,000 soccer fans flocked to watch a Matildas versus Chile match, making it the highest-attended women’s football international in Australian history.

Here are just some of the top women’s sporting moments of 2019 in Australia.

Ash Barty

Ash Barty, a First Nations woman who very nearly abandoned the sport in late 2014, has ended 2019 with the WTA world No.1 ranking. She is only the second Australian woman to ever hold the title.

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This year, Barty has been casually dominant in her matches against tennis greats including Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka.

She won her first Grand Slam title, the French Open, and was awarded the Newcombe Medal for the third consecutive year as Australia’s most outstanding performer of 2019.

In November, the 23-year-old won the WTA final and claimed the biggest winner’s cash prize in tennis history – for men or women – with $US 4.42 million ($6.4 million).

Stellar seasons don’t come much more, well, stellar than that.

Tayla Harris

In 2019, Tayla Harris showed us the true power in kicking ‘like a girl’.

In March this year, photographer Michael Willson captured Harris mid-kick. That now-iconic picture made worldwide news after trolls targeted the athlete with disparaging and sexist remarks.

It wasn’t the story of the trolls that lived on, but rather the pure prowess, poise and power of the Carlton forward.

In September, the image was immortalised in a bronze statue in Melbourne’s CBD. At over three metres tall, there it stands proud as a symbol of the force of women’s sport.

The Matildas

For the Matildas, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, 2019 has been an unforgettable year.

In June, the Matildas made it to the round-of-16 clash in the World Cup. Their captain, 26-year-old Sam Kerr, became the first Australian player, male or female, to score a hat-trick at a World Cup.

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In November, Football Federation Australia and Professional Footballers Australia reached a landmark agreement that closed the pay gap between Australia’s national teams, the Socceroos and Matildas.

And in the same month, Kerr signed a nearly $2 million deal with the Chelsea Football Club, making her one of the highest-paid female footballers in the world.

matildas vs brazil world cup
In 2019, history was made for the Matildas. Image: Getty.

But all this success has not been applauded by everyone.

Six months ago, Mike Etheridge, co-host of The Edge's Mike E & Emma radio show, thundered into his microphone: "With all this sh*t going on about that bloody women’s soccer group – whatever they’re called – and that Ash chick who won that tennis thing… I just want to say what everyone’s thinking: Women’s sport is boring. Like, I don’t give a sh*t."

But in the same year as the radio star's sexist remarks, women's sport in Australia proved - beyond doubt - why Etheridge is oh so wrong.

You see, if Etheridge were to take off his 1952 shades, look around and open his eyes, he would see that women's sport in Australia is blossoming like never before.

Record-breaking deals, crowds and kicks has led to a standout year for women's sport in Australia.

And that's worth celebrating.


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