Siren 19: Rowie Webster, Rudi Ellis, By The White Line & more

A Women in Sport Collective

When the Toyko Olympics and Paralympics were postponed a few weeks ago, it was a blow for athletes who had been preparing and training for years for the ultimate event. It was a similar situation facing athletes playing sports across the country from the grassroots to the elite. How do you push through something like that? What gets you through the uncertainty? 

“I think the cool thing about athletes is we're really resilient. Whatever is thrown at us, we go 'alright, let's just take it in our stride'.”

Rowie Webster, captain of the Australian Water Polo team. 

Resilience is a common theme in many stories of elite athletes. And it’s a common theme in this week’s newsletter too. But so too is the realisation of dreams.

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Covering the Coverage

Our partnership with Swinburne continues through May as we cover the mainstream media coverage of women in sport during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are the statistics from May 18th to 24th. And here you can see more of our work on this project from data collected from when sports were shut down.

In this issue

Alison Smirnoff caught up with Rowie Webster, the captain of the Australian Water Polo team to discuss the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and what the plan looks like for next year. 

In the second of a growing series of women behind the lens, Kasey Symons spoke with Rachel Bach. Do not miss these images, they are incredible.

Kirby Fenwick spoke to Rudi Ellis from the Queensland Firebirds about her netball story and the resilience and hard work required to make it. 

And Gemma Bastiani is delving into her list of underrated AFLW players. 

VIDEO: Siren chats with Rowie Webster

By Alison Smirnoff
Image: Alison Smirnoff

With the twelve month postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Siren co-founder Alison Smirnoff was keen to find out what impact this was having on Olympic athletes. She sat down with Australian water polo captain, Rowie Webster, via Zoom and discussed the challenges of preparing for an Olympic Games whilst in isolation.


Profiling By the White Line: photographer Rachel Bach

By Kasey Symons
Caitlin Foord, Ellie Carpenter and Sam Kerr share a lighter moment during the World Cup pre-camp in Turkey. 26 May 2019. Image: Rachel Bach/By The White Line

Better known as By The White Line, Rachel’s work is sensational. Over many years of unpaid work, and travel at her own expense, to scoring contracts with Nike, she’s covered some of Australia’s finest athletes in their biggest moments.

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Rudi Ellis on resilience, doing the work and joining the Firebirds

By Kirby Fenwick
Image: Queensland Firebirds

Rudi Ellis loves the competitive side of netball, the work and the training and the winning, of course. But she loves the people more. Kirby Fenwick spoke to the emerging star as she navigates an athlete’s life in isolation.

Read More

Underrated: who flew under the AFLW radar in 2020

By Gemma Bastiani
Image: NMFC

Unable to go more than a couple of weeks without writing about AFLW, Gemma Bastiani somewhat revisits her Play On Radio piece on underrated AFLW players from preseason, this time focusing on who flew under the radar in 2020.

Read More

Our new collaborators Halftime Huddle recently shared a new episode with professional walker, Commonwealth Games Champion and passionate mental health and nutrition advocate Jemima Montag.


Our rewatch schedule returns this week! Women’s football expert Angela Christian Wilkes will be taking over the Siren twitter account this Thursday, May 28th from 2:30pm AEST as SBS broadcasts The Matilda’s 2019 World Cup match against Brazil!

Watch on SBS or The World Game website/app.

Last week we shared this piece on The Conversation that Kasey Symons co-authored with her Swinburne colleagues on our mainstream media women’s sport coverage project and the lack of women’s sports in the ‘best of’ lists we’re seeing. We love this response from the Women’s Agenda who addressed the issue by making this great list.

Less than one week remains for photographers to submit entries for the 2020 Women in Sport Photo Action Awards (#WISPAA). Get to it photographers!

We saw a new team enter the National Women’s Hockey League last week - welcome to the Toronto Six

 We loved getting to learn a little about new WHL Ambassador, Gabrielle who wants to help improve the standards of women's hockey in Australia.

Madhumita Das and Sanjana Gaind write on the future of sport and gender as we come out of the coronavirus crisis. In the Guardian, this piece looks at how Covid-19 has rocked women's sport but its future remains bright

The Forward Line podcast spoke to 6x All-Around National Champion, Commonwealth Games Medalist and soon to be Olympian, Georgia Godwin in their latest episode.

Samantha Lewis writes about how Australia and New Zealand’s Women’s World Cup bid highlights a global shift. 

Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford reveals extent of mental health struggles as written by Fiona Tomas.

FIBA published this great article by former Australian Opal Michele Timms on Australian basketball and what it means for Sydney to host the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2022.

Think you know your women’s cricket? Put yourself to the test with the BBC’s Quiz to order women's cricket teams & players by their ICC ranking. You can also see if you can name all 23 players from the 2010 Matildas squad!

Check out this flashback to May 24, 2015! Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs went head-to-head for the Hampson-Hardeman Cup in a women's exhibition match at the MCG. 

Women Onside are hosting a webinar this - Let them Play with Joey Peters. Be sure to register for this one.

Yesterday would have been the start of the French Open, and while we’re sad not to see any tennis (or any sport!) we loved Billie Jean King using the moment to remind us of Suzanne Lenglen. Women’s sports history matters.

May 21 marked the 10 year anniversary of Sam Kerr’s first goal for the Matildas. That celebration… 

Runner up

Scream like a girl. Awesome.

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