You remember Liz Ellis, right? She's the former Australian netball captain who has also been top TV talent on various shows over the years, and is a great speaker and terrific role model. Who doesn't love Liz Ellis?
So Liz -- because seriously, who else? -- was the MC at the Wednesday launch of the new Suncorp Super Netball league, which is the rebranded version of whatever the old netball league was called.
Big news on several fronts. Netball will be shown live weekly on free-to-air TV for the first time. Nine has stepped up to the hoop and will cover it each week on Gem. Ellis said she knows loads of people who have totally cleared Saturday nights for the next few months to host netball house parties. We're tipping that bibs with two letters on the back will be suitable attire.
"I feel like we're on the verge of something special, something massive in netball," Ellis said.
And she's right. For all the recent fanfare over assorted women's sports being televised for the first time, cricket still gets covered a bit here, a bit there. And the AFL Women's season lasts barely two months. But the new netball league will run from this weekend until midyear. So no excuses not to catch a game or two.
There will be eight teams, five of which are new. The teams are:
- Queensland Firebirds
- GIANTS Netball (yep, a Sydney team linked to the AFL Giants)
- NSW Swifts
- Magpies Netball Club (yep, another Collingwood team to hate)
- West Coast Fever
- Kate Moloney– Melbourne Vixens
- Erin Bell – Adelaide Thunderbirds
- Sunshine Coast Lightning (they're a second Qld team, which is cool)
OK, now for the funny thing Liz Ellis said. As Liz was introducing the team captains, she shared a story. You'll love this. Over to you, Liz.
"There's a bit of talk at the moment about how women's sport is an overnight success and I don't mind that. It really came home to me during the Olympics last year.
I was lying in bed with my five-year-old daughter and we were watching the television flicking between the Opals (basketballers), the Matildas (soccer) and the Pearls (our gold medal-winning women's rugby team) and we were watching all these women going around playing team sports and my little girl turned to me and she said:
'Mummy, why don't boys play sport?'
And I said 'my darling that's because they're ironing'."
At which point everyone laughed. But Ellis's daughter Evelyn wasn't done yet on that August evening in front of the Olympics.
"A few minutes later she 'said mummy, what's ironing?' and I thought my work here is done."
So there you have it. Proof from big sponsors like Suncorp and the commitment from Nine that women's sport is a bankable product.
And verification from the Ellis household that it's to be taken seriously. Which you obviously knew, but it's always nice to see kids growing up normalising women's professional sport, isn't it.
Oh, and if anyone finds out what ironing actually is, feel free to tell this reporter.
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