Siren 73: Pride in Netball, Gülcan Koca, Liz Ellis & more

A Women in Sport Collective

Over the past week, the Olympics have brought football, swimming and cycling to our screens. They’ve also brought skateboarding (a new Olympic sport in 2021), archery and canoe slalom. 

Of the thirty-three sports being played at the Tokyo Olympics, there are more than a handful that might be considered niche. There are absolutely dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic fans surrounding sports like trampolining, fencing and table tennis. But outside the Olympics and Paralympics, many of these sports have little to no profile in mainstream sports coverage. 

This is one of the joys of the Games. Suddenly, you find yourself watching a sport you are completely unfamiliar with. You might be trying to figure out the rules, or understand the scoring. You might be astounded by the way the athletes appear to throw all caution to the wind to compete. It’s a smorgasbord of sporting brilliance and eccentricity. And it's the perfect space for the fan—new and old alike—to flourish. 

Social media can often be our foe, but when it comes to finding community—particularly of the sporting variety—it can undoubtedly be our friend. 

At Siren, we describe ourselves as fans first and content creators second. It’s our love for sport that propelled us into this space and that brought us together. We don’t just lean into our fandom, we know the power of it, too. 

We’re far from the only ones. Emmy, who goes by @conciergemaree on Twitter, and who you may otherwise know as the CEO of Netball TikTok, wrote about the power of the netball community for The Netball Post

In encouraging netty fans to avoid gatekeeping, but to hold the mainstream media to account when they make errors, Emmy pointed to the power that social media now gives fans when it comes to growing their sport’s profile. 

“Don’t discount what putting yourself out there can do to grow our fanbase and the sport. If creating stuff isn’t your cup of tea, that’s okay too! Jump on social media and follow every single netball player/team/commentator you come across. Think of it as signing a petition.

“With every single follower that ticks over, we are making a powerful statement about just how many of us are out there.

“Every little bit counts.”

So embrace your new favourite sports! Get following and sharing. Because you never know, you might just find your people. 

Join us!

Tonight’s AFLW Draft, while amidst the Olympics, is an important evening for the ever-growing competition. We’re excited to have AFLW heads Julia Montesano, Lucy Watkin, Sarah Burt and our very own Gemma Bastiani running a live voice chat on Siren’s discord channel for the duration. Got questions about who your team is drafting? Just want to feel part of the footy community? Join in the conversation!

Join our Discord server

Kasey Symons was in The Conversation this week, discussing the difficult questions that the Tokyo Olympics raises for fans. Gemma Bastiani is also back with podcast I See It But I Don’t Believe It, this time releasing a special episode with Brisbane Lions Women’s CEO Breeanna Brock to tell the story of their 2021 AFLW premiership.

Don’t forget, Gemma also releases a weekly footy podcast with Siren pal Rana Hussain called Footy, Actually.

In this issue

Erin Delahunty discusses this week’s history-making Super Netball Pride game and what it means for players at the grassroots and the elite. 

We’re excited to bring you another piece from the latest round of our Emerging Sports Writer Program, supported by Football Victoria. This one from Sienna Nobile who caught up with her childhood heroine, footballer Gülcan Koca

Kasey Symons spoke with netball legend Liz Ellis about the agility shown by the SSN to navigate the complexities of the season and the launch of the new Pick Fresh, Play Fresh community netball grant program. 

And Gemma Bastiani tells the story of the Brisbane Lions’ maiden AFLW premiership, with help from the club’s Women’s CEO Breeanna Brock.


“Heck yes, it means something”; Super Netball to host history-making Pride match

By Erin Delahunty

Thursday the Queensland Firebirds and Collingwood will play in the first Super Netball Pride Game. Erin Delahunty shares what it means to the LGBTIQA+ community.

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Strong minded: Gülcan Koca and her impact on young fans

By Sienna Nobile

Emerging Sports Writer Program participant Sienna Nobile spoke with one of her heroes, footballer Gülcan Koca, reflecting on the athlete’s journey and their first encounter.

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Liz Ellis on netball’s support for community sport a chance to drive more change

By Kasey Symons
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 20: Alison Broadbent and Liz Ellis of Australia celebrate their win in the Holden Astra Netball Series between Australia and New Zealand at Vodafone Arena on November 20, 2004 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 20: Alison Broadbent and Liz Ellis of Australia celebrate their win in the Holden Astra Netball Series between Australia and New Zealand at Vodafone Arena on November 20, 2004 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Kasey Symons catches up with Liz Ellis for a discussion on Netball’s core principles and its commitment to creating positive change in the community.

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One in, all in: the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW Premiership

By Gemma Bastiani

For podcast I See It But I Don’t Believe It Gemma Bastiani interviewed Brisbane Lions Women’s CEO Breeanna Brock about their journey to a flag.

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Australia's Minjee Lee claims her first major title with a playoff victory at Evian Championship! A great for the worlds former No.1 amateur, we can’t wait to see where she takes the sport next!

Aussie women’s sevens co-captain, Sharni Williams, is set to wear some exquisite rainbow head gear at the Olympics. We love to see athletes wearing their values and celebrating equality on the field. 

Jenny Sinclair and Netball Scoop allows us to experience some godly commentating from former Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander in their new series: View from the bench. Her impressive 81% success rate shines through in the insightful game breakdowns. Consider us hooked! 

Check out FIBA Hall-of-fame inductee Michele Timm’s ultimate Opals Olympic all star list! We couldn’t think of anyone more qualified to take us down memory lane with her dream team. 

As we’re enthusiastically cheering our Olympians, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of inclusion and accessibility in sport. Intersex Human Rights Australia has some great resources citing involvement issues around intersex participation

Huge congratulations to Kate Jacewicz! Jacewicz is one of 13 women selected to be referees in the Tokyo Olympics. 

Nefertiti A. Walker calls out the continuous disrespect for black women that is ingrained in sports institutions after talented analyst Maria Taylor announces her leave at ESPN following an incident where she was called a ‘diversity hire’. 

You can’t tell us this didn’t move you off the couch! Yes Arnie!!!!

Runner up

Yes, women are strong!

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