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Scotty's Spin: Where Is New Zealand's Investment In Women's Sport?

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Scotty's Spin: Where Is New Zealand's Investment In Women's Sport?

This week's news that Portia Woodman-Wickliffe is standing down from international rugby union got me thinking - she's really made the black jersey her own over the last decade and helped put New Zealand women's rugby on the map in a way that no others have been able to do before.

And that's with all respect to the likes of Anna Richards, Mel Robinson, Monalisa Codling and many, many others who have played with distinction in that jersey in the past.

But having genuine superstars in the game has ensured that the crowds were drawn.
I look back to that Rugby World Cup held here in New Zealand in 2022, where the Black Ferns got the job done over England in front of a capacity crowd at Eden Park - Ruby Tui, what a personality she has. Kendra Cocksedge, who was on the show with us this week, and a host of superstars of the women's game.

But my problem here is, what have we done to capitalise on that success?

I was encouraged by the comments from Simon Porter yesterday, a guest on a podcast talking about the investment required in women's sport. There will be some who will text in and say, "It doesn't earn any money. Why are we wasting time on it?" and I will tell you why, because it's 50% of the population.

For those of you who don't know Simon Porter, he is a former rugby player, but also now hitting up New Zealand's biggest player agency, Halo Sport.

He's an exceptional thinker on the game and he's also the husband of former Black Fern Hannah Porter, who's still heavily involved in New Zealand rugby.

Porter has talked about the investment required - it's not about the return at this stage in the game.

The New Zealand women's cricket team have just been defeated again, this time by five wickets against England in their third and final ODI on the tour. That's 0-3 in that series for the White Ferns.

Have they had the investment opportunities that the likes of England and Australia, now India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa are getting? I would say they are not.

We are so behind the curve when it comes to the investment in women's sport and we're behind the curve when it comes to the investment in women's rugby as well.

The NRLW is undoubtedly now going to target all of those Black Ferns superstars, the NZ Warriors are going to go after them.

Whether Woodman-Wickliffe or Tui go to the Warriors or not, you cannot argue that the NRL is seeing the value in increasing the visibility of women through their women's competition and that is going to provide opportunities for those who have made their name in rugby union.

Why are they going to the NRLW? Because the competition is well set - there's an investment in the competition, there's money to be made.

Are we doing enough in these formerly predominantly male sports to invest in our women and to make sure they go through the system, become professional and then attract the crowds? If they're not attracting the crowds now, put them in places where they can attract the crowds.

The Black Ferns are in action against Wallaroos on July 14 in Australia at Ballymore, we've barely heard a whisper about that game here.

No one seems to care because the All Blacks show is in town, I think they deserve better and I think the visibility in these games will only improve if we start to realise that the investment is required and it's required right through to the grassroots of the game.

Get our women involved in sport as girls, bring them through a system that actively invests in them and has the money to keep investing in them.

Scotty's Spin: Where is New Zealand's investment in women's sport? (sen.com.au)

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