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Let me say the G-word

Date

Fleta Page

Saturday Serve

Confusing ... the Matildas' request for a male coach.

Confusing ... the Matildas' request for a male coach. Photo: AP

We need to talk about gender. In an era of equal opportunity, breaking glass ceilings and prime ministerial speeches calling out misogyny, there are still examples of sexism which leave me flabbergasted.

The story that some members of the Matildas soccer team wanted a male coach - and went so far as to put that preference in writing - was one I would rather not have written.

It is sometimes easier to sweep these things under the rug and pretend they never happened; certainly people in the world of women's football would have liked me to.

But ultimately that would be doing women a disservice.

The notion that some young women believe they would be in such better hands with a male mentor than a female, that they would go so far as to write to the FFA to state that preference, took me some time to get my head around.

It's something which needs to be discussed.

There is something going wrong if the current generation of our best female footballers have never had a female coach they respect and trust with their sporting career.

I've had many coaches in many sports, mostly male, some outstanding, some ordinary, but without a doubt the best, the most talented and inspiring, and the one I respected the most was female.

She made me wish I'd had more women coaching me over the years.

So on one hand I can understand experience leading to a gender preference, and for the last eight years Tom Sermanni has led the Matildas he's obviously created an environment the players appreciate, have been comfortable with and excelled in.

I can empathise with the desire of players to keep that environment as similar as possible to what it was; perhaps they envisage a new friendly, crossword-loving Scotsman in charge.

But I worry that their breadth of experience is so narrow as to not enable an imagining of a world beyond that.

To me it's a clear sign there is not enough diversity in the football coaching ranks, a situation which needs to be addressed at all levels.

Not least because today's top female players are potentially tomorrow's top coaches, but run the very real risk there will be nowhere to put their skills into practice.

Part of me feels that is cause enough to appoint a female coach of the Matildas; to influence a change in attitude from the top down.

But part of me thinks choosing on gender is fraught, particularly when it has become such a hot topic of debate.

No one wants to be seen as a token hire, no matter how many credentials you have to back up the appointment.

With the outstanding international female candidates rumoured to be in the running for the Matildas job it's hard to see any argument of tokenism sustained, but the international candidates are well ahead of Australia.

When you bring experience into the criteria there are few Australian women who would fit the bill for the top job, and none is known to have made the shortlist.

Regardless of who gets the job, it's at the grass roots and development level where Australia needs to do its best to ensure more women on the sideline.

Give the promising ones a chance, let them show the next generation of players how much they have to offer while developing their own leadership and coaching skills.

The reality is there will likely be fewer about, but give those ones a go and give them time, mentoring and whatever else you would afford the promising male equivalent.

It's important we normalise the involvement of women to the point where players don't feel so threatened by the unknown prospect of being coached by a fellow woman that they write to their governing body.

For as long as women are not given a look-in at coaching roles in men's teams, there needs to be a pathway through the glass ceiling.

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Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WST 1 Report Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
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SYD 1 vs MEC 1 Report Stats
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WEL 1 vs PER 2 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Report Stats
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SYD 3 vs WST 2 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Report Stats
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VIC 5 vs MEC 2 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs ADE 2 Report Stats
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PER 2 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WST Report Stats
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Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs VIC 2 Report Stats
BRI 1 vs MEC 3 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 4 Report Stats
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ADE 2 vs WEL 1 Report Stats
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Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
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Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs BRI 19:30ES
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PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
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Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
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BRI vs PER 17:00SS
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
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Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs PER 19:30TBC
Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
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Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
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Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
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NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
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MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
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Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
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Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
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SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
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Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 17:00WS
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Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
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Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
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Round 15
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
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WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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Round 16
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
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PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
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BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
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Round 17
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
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Round 18
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
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WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
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SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
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Round 19
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
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MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
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Round 20
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
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Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
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CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
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Round 22
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
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MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
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Round 23
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
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CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
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Round 24
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
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Round 25
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
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SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
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NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
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Round 26
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
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Round 27
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
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Sydney FC 6 3 3 0 5 12
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