Breaking New Ground
The story of the Matildas, when Australia fell in love with Women’s sport
In 2023 even before the Matildas reached the semi-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup they had broken all of the records.
They achieved record TV viewership, record match attendance, record merchandise sales and a record number of kilometers covered by a single player, Katrina Gorry in the midfield. It was also a record that Katrina Gorry was a new mum, returning to play professionally after 4 only months off the field. Australian politicians took to social media to be associated with the team.
The Minister for Defence announced that his portfolio could be managed by Matildas Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold for 24 hours. The Minister for Sport declared she would like to be the Minister for the Matildas.
Sam Kerr’s calf made record headlines and she hadn’t played a minute. We saw whole flights of passengers watching in-flight entertainment – the Matildas penalty kick-out against France in the Quarter Finals. The AFL screened the game in the stadiums before the AFL fixtures were due to start.
Stadiums around Australia celebrated at the Cortnee Vine goal that sealed the record performance of any Australian team at any Football World Cup. And finally, at the end of the journey, even though the team didn’t take home the silverware they attracted a further $200M from the government to improve community facilities for women and girls – for all of the sports.