27 November 2019

Thriving ACT women's teams a big hit on national scoreboard, and at home

| Tim Gavel
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Canberra United thrive at home with a supportive fan-base. Photo: Tim Gavel.

Canberra United have shown that they are a team to watch this season. Photo: Tim Gavel.

Canberra’s women’s teams are making their mark on the national sporting scene and generating their own staunch following at home.

In football, basketball, hockey, volleyball and cricket, the women are playing with skill and passion, and getting results on the scoreboard and playing finals.

And while the ACT does not have an AFLW team, that’s not stopping Canberra Australian football players being spotted and signed.

It all points to a flourishing female sports culture in the Territory that is providing pathways to elite players and encouraging girls to get out on the field themselves, not just watch from the stands.

But there is plenty of informed, committed support in the stands, as sports commentator Stephanie Brantz discovered last weekend.

She experienced first-hand just how passionate Canberra United supporters can be during the W League game between United and Melbourne City at McKellar Park.

When a crucial decision went against United, Brantz and co-commentator Grace Gill, broadcasting the game in the stand among the fans, heard the roar of displeasure from the home crowd.

An afternoon watching Canberra United on television while they play a home game is a unique and worthwhile experience. At times you can clearly hear the instructions from coach Heather Garriock and interaction between the players through the television coverage.

The brilliance of Karly Roestbakken, Katie Stengel, Simone Charley and Camila Martins Pereira on centre stage has proven that there is no need for ground announcers to inform supporters when to barrack for their team. The Canberra supporters are ahead of the game in that respect.

The Canberra Chill women’s hockey team made the semi-finals in the new Hockey One competition. Again the crowds turned out in force at Lyneham.

Meanwhile, the Canberra Heat women’s volleyball team qualified for the semi-finals of the Australian Volleyball Super League.

Our teams are really coming of age and showing that they are worthy of a national stage.

In next season’s AFL Women’s League, the ACT will have a record 13 players taking part across seven clubs, with four playing for the GWS Giants.

Britt Tully and Elise O’Dea were among those already on an AFLW list. They will be joined by another six players next season, including Maggie Gorham and Hannah Dunn. This is the largest number of ACT players recruited by AFLW clubs in a single season.

And the community support for these ACT-homegrown players and ACT teams is strong and growing stronger.

The UC Capitals continued dominance at home in the WNBL is also cause for celebration, with the team recording 15 wins in a row on their home court, and the crowds have responded.

The UC Capitals love playing at home. Photo: UC Capitals.

The UC Capitals are strongly supported at home and the results on the home court prove it. Photo: UC Capitals.

After winning the premiership earlier this year the Capitals showed their class against the Perth Lynx winning 84-66 on the weekend. They have begun the season with six wins in their first eight games.

It’s an indication that coach Paul Gorris’s recruitment has been spot-on after losing three key players in the off-season. New recruit Olivia Epoupa has quickly joined the likes of Kia Nurse, Marianna Tolo and Kelsey Griffin as a crowd favourite.

The ACT Meteors women’s cricket team made a flying start to the Women’s Cricket League with two victories against Victoria and South Australia to start the season.

And a note to fans of the Meteors, because of the women’s Big Bash, the Meteors won’t play their next games until 6 January, with their first home match on 21 January.

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