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2016's top 10 moments in women's sport.

December 31, 2016

It is fair to say that 2016 was another huge year for women's sport in Australia. With it also being an Olympic year it was especially tough to narrow it down, but here are our top 10 moments for the year:

 

10. Melbourne City's 2015/16 season

(From left: Beattie Goad, Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, Steph Catley & Larissa Crummer. Photo: Getty Images)

 

With a lineup full of local and international superstars, Melbourne City took on all comers in their inaugural season. They were undefeated all year and topped it off by claiming a 4-1 victory over Sydney FC in the grand final. Their success proved what can be achieved if women's teams are provided with the same resources as their men's teams and thereby set the benchmark for the rest of the W-League competition.

 

 

9. WBBL01 

(Sydney Thunder claim the first ever WBBL Championship. Photo: Getty Images)

 

The first ever Women's Big Bash season was a roaring success. With solid crowd attendances and fantastic broadcast numbers, the WBBL showed how successful women's sport can be when given a platform. It is now a model that other women's sports codes are working hard to follow.

 

 

8. Catherine Skinner's trap shooting gold medal

(Catherine Skinner claims gold at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty Images)

 

In a tense final against New Zealand's Natalie Rooney, Catherine Skinner held her nerve to win the trap shooting gold medal. After missing her first and fourth targets, Skinner fought back and finished the 15-target final with 12. For 26 year old Skinner, it was her first victory on the international stage... and what a time to do it! 

 

 

7. Chloe Esposito's Modern Pentathlon gold medal

(Chloe Esposito with her gold medal at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty Images)

 

Going into the final event of the modern pentathlon at the Rio Olympics, Chloe Esposito was in seventh place and 45 seconds off the pace. However, she stormed home in the final running/shooting discipline with an overall time of 12 minutes and 10.19 seconds. Incredibly, on the shooting range, Esposito only missed one target in the four lots of five shots.

 

 

6. The AFL announces the foundation teams of the inaugural national women's league  

(The AFL announces the eight foundation teams of the inaugural women's league. Photo: Getty Images)

 

In a year of many exciting announcements for women's footy, it was difficult to choose just one moment. However, on June 15 on the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick made history when he announced the foundation teams of the inaugural AFL women's competition. In that moment, the tireless work of countless women's football pioneers had finally paid off. On top of that, young girls right across the country could finally dream big and strive to play in the AFL. If you happened to miss the news, the eight foundation teams are; Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. 

 

 

5. Tyler Wright claims world surfing title

(Tyler Wright claims the women's world surfing title. Photo: Corey Wilson)

 

Tyler Wright dominated this year's world surfing tour winning five out of 10 tournaments. She joined some illustrious company by becoming the seventh Australian to win a world crown. Some of the names that have gone before her include Wendy Botha, Stephanie Gilmore and Layne Beachley. More importantly though, she overcame some adversity on the way to her triumph. In 2015 her uncle passed away and her brother Owen (also a professional surfer) suffered a serious brain injury while surfing in Hawaii. Tyler dedicated her world title win to her late uncle.

 

 

4. Australia wins the FIBA U17 World Championship

(The Sapphires celebrate their historic win over the USA. Photo: FIBA)

 

The future of Australian basketball is in good hands after the Under-17s team, The Sapphires, claimed their first ever world championship. The Sapphires had a flawless tournament, remaining undefeated in all six of their matches. The highlight of the tournament was perhaps their semi final win over the USA. It was the first time an American women's or men's under-17 team has ever been defeated at a world championship. Australia went on to defeat Italy 62-38 in the final. Three players, Ezi Magbegor, captain Jasmine Simmons and Monique Conti were all named in the tournament's All-Star five, with Magbegor also being named the tournament MVP. 

 

 

3. The Matildas qualify for the Rio Olympics 

(Lisa De Vanna celebrates scoring a goal against Japan. Photo: Getty Images)

 

Coming off their heroic efforts at the 2015 World Cup, Australia once again got behind the Matildas as they climbed the Olympic qualification mountain. At the qualifying tournament in Japan, the Matildas played a gruelling five matches in 10 days against Asia's top footballing nations. The Matildas finished with four wins and a draw which saw them qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2004.

 

 

2. Kim Brennan's single sculls gold medal

(Kim Brennan in the single sculls final at the Rio Olympics. Photo: Getty Images)

 

At her third Olympics and with the weight of a nation on her shoulders, Australian rowing champion Kim Brennan (nee Crow) powered to victory in the single sculls final at the Rio Olympics. Brennan was the overwhelming favourite heading into the final and held her nerve to break an eight-year rowing gold medal drought for Australia. After a lifetime dedicated to her sport, Brennan could finally add 'Olympic gold medallist' to her list of achievements. Brennan was also bestowed the honour of being Australia's flag bearer at the closing ceremony.

 

 

1. The all-conquering Australian Rugby Sevens team. 

(The Aussie Sevens team celebrate their Olympic gold medal. Photo: Getty Images)

 

The Aussie Sevens team claimed a superb double in 2016 winning both the Sevens World Championship and Olympic gold in Rio. In the gold medal match against New Zealand, they overcame a 5-0 deficit early in the game and then ran home 24-17 winners. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of their triumph is how they quite literally captured the nation. They have helped redefine what makes a powerful female athlete and showcased the toughness and skill of women's rugby. They have proved that any sport - whether it's a contact sport or not - is accessible to women and that the nation is ready to support it.

 

 

Honourable mentions:

 

Table tennis player, Milly Tapper, makes history in Rio becoming the first Australian to qualify for both the Olympics and Paralympics.

 

Cricket Australia's payment pool for female cricketers increases from $2.36m to $4.23m

 

Queensland Firebirds win back-to-back titles in the final season of the ANZ Championships.

 

Netball Australia's new pay deal sees the average salary for netballers rise from $40,000 to $67,500.

 

Daisy Pearce claims a record-breaking seventh league best & fairest award, making her the most highly decorated player in women's football.

 

Lendlease sign a landmark sponsorship deal with the NSW Breakers allowing their players to become fully professional.

 

The Darebin Falcons are undefeated in the inaugural VFL Women's season and claim their fourth grand final in a row.

 

 

#ChangeHerGame

 

 

 

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