Ellyse Perry hails Matildas’ World Cup: Never seen anything like this

Ellyse Perry hails Matildas' World Cup: Never seen anything like this

Australia cricket superstar Ellyse Perry could easily have found herself playing alongside Sam Kerr and the other Matildas at the Women’s World Cup.

An equally gifted footballer, Perry made her international debut at 16 – playing her first match for Australia against Hong Kong in 2007.

The brilliant cricket allrounder made her first World Cup appearance during the 2011 tournament in Germany, scoring the Matildas’ only goal in the 3-1 quarter-final loss to Sweden.

The 32-year-old earned 18 caps and scored three goals for Australia between 2007 and 2012.

Primarily a defender, Perry also enjoyed a glittering career in domestic soccer playing for Central Coast Mariners, Canberra United and Sydney FC with teammates Kerr and Caitlin Foord.

She competed at the International Women’s Club Championship with Sydney FC in 2013, when the squad defeated Japan’s WE League club NTV Beleza 1-0 but lost 3-2 to Chelsea.

But as her sporting paths crossed, she sacrificed her soccer trajectory for the bat-and-ball game with her cricketing career exploding into superstardom from 2014.

Perry went on to win eight world titles with Australia, 11 Women’s National Cricket League championships with NSW, and two Women’s Big Bash League titles with the Sydney Sixers.

She is now delighted to see her former Matildas team-mates take the football world – and the Australian sporting public – by storm.

“I don’t think we’ve ever really seen anything like this,” Perry said on Thursday. “The level that they’re playing at, the style that they’re playing, the amazing entertainment that they are.

“Just to see what those girls have done for not only their team but for this sport and for women’s sport – it’s just been a phenomenal tournament.”

Perry did not want to forget the achievements made by female athletes before the Matildas’ World Cup fever swept the nation.

“There’s lots of precedent for this,” she said. “Traditionally, the Women’s Big Bash League has been the fourth most-watched sporting competition in the country – it seems a long time ago but back in 2020 we had 86,000 at the MCG.

“It’s been a really steady evolution for women’s sport for a long period of time. “[General society] is shifting in line with a real push towards equality but also how much we value the incredible skill and endeavour of all of our female athletes and what they’re able to achieve.”

Perry hopes the momentum around the World Cup can help the growth of domestic competitions.

“We’ve got an amazing platform to be more successful and have more of a mark on the sporting landscape in Australia,” she said. “The product is there. Now it’s just about providing a platform for fans to be able to come along and have a really enjoyable time.

“The next frontier for us is to make sure that we’re able to fill those stadiums.”

Perry is currently recovering from a knee injury sustained last month in Ireland and meant she was withdrawn from the Hundred but is hopeful of being ready for the start of the domestic season in late September.

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