Sport

Netball to get share of billions? If dude-bros learn to share

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The Diamonds in action (Image via netball.com.au)

When it comes to equality in sport, even asking for a gender-specific stadium for grossly underfunded women's netball is considered "sexist" by the dude-bros, writes Noely Neate.

LIKE MOST DRAMAS in my life, it started with a tweet. 

I’m a big netball fan, particularly of our national competition, Suncorp Super Netball.

If you have not yet watched it, please do. It is a far cry from your daughters running around in netters — and the great (netball player) Liz Ellis wrote a piece that quite frankly floored me. It was not about the play, as such, but about the fact that if one of the Sydney teams gets in the Grand Final, they have nowhere appropriate to host it in Sydney. Seriously? Sydney, Australia!

I live in Queensland. Like most around the nation, we see the arguments over which city is pre-eminent in Australia, Sydney or Melbourne. For those outside that fight, you know, the rest of the nation, we are always told how wonderful Sydney is. Every big event has to happen in Sydney. They have the biggest population, Dog Forbid! A Rugby League Grand Final could ever be played outside Sydney — even though it might not even be a Sydney team competing. So imagine my shock to find that the Giants, who are currently second on the table and could be a chance of hosting the grand final, have nowhere to play in Sydney.

So, professional netball does not have a home that is appropriate in Sydney, bouncing between two arenas, when available. Liz not only raises the issue but also gives a solution in her very good piece, as well, that would not only assist netball but other indoor sports. Her solution is the NSW Government putting a roof over Sydney Olympic Park.

Now, as I said, I live in Queensland, so I am only vaguely follow NSW politics, but even I am aware of the "Stadiums Stoush" happening down there. Back in March, the NSW Government was going to spend $2 billion – yes, billion – on stuffing around with the stadiums in NSW. Where that drama is at now, I have no idea, but obviously, money is available in NSW to fix up and knock down stadiums for the boys' footy, but nothing for the girls?

I have, obviously, tweeted Liz’s plea to sign a petition calling on 'NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to Refurbish Sydney Tennis Centre for Giants/Swifts Netball, Basketball and Indoor Sports' — please sign it!

Well, who knew that asking for a venue for professional netballers would be controversial or cause any drama? Never underestimate the "dude-bros", who obviously feel threatened when women demand the same attention the blokes get.

It was sexist to ask for a netball-specific stadium

Yep, men don’t play netball so government funds should not be spent on it is the vibe (sadly, it  was not the lone ranger, a heap of dropkicks came back with that one.) For the record. Men do play netball — you can find out more on the Australian Men's' and Mixed Netball Association website. Not that it should have mattered.

Since men are not included in elite netball competition it doesn’t deserve a specific stadium

This is the comeback when said dude-bros find out there is actually men's netball. It is honestly offensive to these people that the women mightshare 'the elite stage' or 'in modern times, all elite sports have both male and female teams'. Let’s see, exactly how long did it take the AFL or Rugby League to have women playing in an elite competition? I think it might have only started in recent years ... after waiting over 100 years!

Pro tip: the dude-bros really don’t like it when you tell them that we ladies are kind and might split the difference and only make the blokes wait, say, 50 years to join them at an elite level. For less pay, of course, and less exposure and a shorter season with less support.

Only just got a national competition — don’t be greedy

Yep, gotta love that one. Australians love to watch The Diamonds succeed over the years but the national competition has always struggled — the women were not paid, or very little, and most sacrificed much to even compete at that level for very little thanks. Super Netball was a game changer. For the first time they got a "real wage" to play netball. An average salary of $67,500 — yep, take that Lance Franklin and Cooper Cronk! Oh wait …

I’m not exactly sure how long we are supposed to wait. Other States have very good stadiums. In Brisbane we have the Entertainment Centre and, in fact, the Queensland Government is actually building a Queensland State Netball Centre to support netball in the State. Netball is the most popular team sport for girls in New South Wales, why the hell should they "wait" to see their elite players in a stadium suited to this sports specific playing and televising needs?

Of course, I also got the random abusive tweets you get when you advocate for something gender specific on the internet 'cos that is just the way the dude-bros roll.

I’m not going to out the trolls with their tweets as, to be quite frank, I’ve wasted enough time on them and it serves no purpose except to rev them up again to fight the good fight. You know, the fight to stop these blokes having to share their privilege with the other half of the population, even when it comes to sport?!

Anyhow, if you get a chance, give the Super Netball a gander, it a fast, tough sport! Not to mention, if you know any of those dude-bros, please tell them to pull their heads in, too.

And, while I’m being a “Feminazi”, or was it “Gender Warrior”, or it could have been “Bra-burning Lesbian Bitch” – whatever is the dude-bros' popular online slur today – please sign the petition.

Read more from Noely Neate on her blog YaThink?, or follow her on Twitter @YaThinkN.

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