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Women’s Sport takes the national stage

Elite women’s sport has certainly made its mark across the Australian landscape.

A clear indication of that was the crowds watching in the weekend, both at the venues and on television.

Across less than 24 hours, in two sporting capital cities, Adelaide and Melbourne, a pair of Grand Finals were well patronized by fans. At the Adelaide Oval they hosted the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) title decider on

Saturday evening and the on Sunday afternoon at Ikon Park, the home of the Carlton Blues, the AFL Women’s Grand Final was played.

On Saturday evening the Adelaide Strikers and the Brisbane Heat produced a low scoring thriller in front of a healthy and vocal crowd of 12,379 to complete WBBL09.

Batting first the Strikers were restricted to a modest total of 125, with South African international Laura Wolvaardt making 39 and captain Tahlia McGrath compiling 38, while Heat quick Nicola Hancock led the way for the visitors claimed three wickets at a cost of 23 runs.

The Heats chase went down to the final ball, but fell three runs short, sparking riotous celebrations by the Strikers players and staff.

Well-travelled Leg Spinner Amanda Jade Wellington collected player of the match honours for her three wicket haul, with the Heats Amelia Kerr remaining not out on 30 when the final ball was bowled.

Mikayla Hinkley nearly stole the game from the hosts, hitting Wellington for six from the first ball she faced, but was well caught on the boundary by Jemma Barsby on the penultimate ball of the game, just a metre short of glory.

Needing a four to tie the match, Hancock could only manage one from the final ball.

McGrath and Coach Luke Williams triumphantly lifted the Cup for the second successive year, after winning the BBL08 tournament in Sydney last summer.

On a brilliant summer’s afternoon the Brisbane Lions came from behind at each of the minor breaks to defeat North Melbourne on the biggest day of the AFLW season, playing against a predominately parochial home crowd of 12,616 at Ikon Park.

They kicked four last quarter majors to win their second AFLW crown, 7.2 (44) to 4.3 (27).

Dakota Davidson, who came in under an injury cloud and was quelled for the majority of the afternoon sprung to life, kicking two big goals in the final term to help the Lions to a 17-point victory.

Ellie Hampson also kicked two goals, while Breanna Koenen dominated the voting to win the best on ground medal, along with kicking the final goal of the contest

Midfielder Ally Anderson, Belle Dawes, and Courtney Hodder with her tackling pressure were also excellent for the winners.

One of the competitions best players Jasmine Garner was the Kangaroos best, followed by inside midfielder Mia King, Ash Riddell and Kim Rennie.

How women’s sport has blossomed in Australia.

The inaugural AFLW match, a stand along exhibition game between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs was held just a decade ago at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Now there are a full contingent of 18 AFLW teams that competed in this season eight.

Similarly, the WBBL has been going for nine summers, and women’s cricket in Australia is one of the biggest female participations sports across the nation currently.

 

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