I think we all can agree that the Wallabies are by far the most discussed sporting team on The Roar and that largely Rugby tends to fill the majority of contributors submissions.
It's the primary reason I have been regularly visiting The Roar since first discovering the site early last year. I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles and the opinions of my fellow posters.
However, amongst all the at times obsessive analysis that often occurs regarding our great game, we tend to forget that outside of the realm of the Wallabies we have another national team. One that in the last two seasons has seen a re-emergence on the international scene followed by swift success. Know who I am talking about? If you guessed our women's equivalent then you're dead on target – the Wallaroos.
These girls have represented our nation with zeal and play the game not only for the fun of it but as hard and with the as much tenacity as any of their male counterparts. But what attention do they get from the Rugby public let alone the wider community? Well done…good job… then nothing. This for a team that has recorded two of its most significant results in the last 18 months.
First, their enthralling victory at the Sevens RWC in Dubai, then recently their valiant third place getting in the women's Rugby World Cup in England. Their best ever result. Women's Rugby in Australia lacks its long overdue acknowledgment.
This isn't an attempt to put the guilt trip on anyone. As a fan we all tend to get caught up in the latest happenings of our most public face. My premise however is to attempt to highlight the inequities that exist between our male and female athletes.
We don't need national competitions or even millions of dollars in investment. Though either would certainly prove useful particularly the money. What is needed is a well conceived and efficiently executed female development strategy. An effective national development blueprint specifically targeting girls and women separate from any current framework. One that provides Women with a real alternative and one that will see ambitious target outcomes set for the women's game in this country.
Furthermore, we now have a vessel. Sevens Rugby is perfect for young girls and Women. Open and skillful while containing the less physicality of 15s but still enough to qualify it as a contact sport. It is relatively cheap to establish and doesn't require a full squad to participate.
Oh, and we're current World Champions. Not to mention the Olympics. Just two minor selling points.
The neglect of the women's game has continued for far too long and I believe cannot be sustained. Our nation's best have proven to be a force worthy of note on the international stage. A stage that should be noted is ever growing. To further place the importance of our female counterparts in the game as a secondary concern will see the game all the poorer for its neglect.
Significantly still by growing our female base an interesting flow on effect could follow.