Matildas mania highlights sad truth for Aussie netballers after World Cup triumph

The Aussie Diamonds recently won the Netball World Cup for a record-extending 12th time.

The netball Diamonds alongside the Matildas.
The netball Diamonds haven't received nearly as much attention as the Matildas. Image: Getty

Amid the absolute frenzy that the Matildas have created around Australia during their run the the semi-finals of the Women's World Cup, netball fans are crying foul that the all-conquering Diamonds haven't received as much attention. The Matildas have captivated Australia during their historic run, becoming the first Aussie football side (men's or women's) to make the semis at a World Cup.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has even flagged the possibility of a national public holiday should the Matildas go all the way and win the World Cup. Such is the hype around Sam Kerr and her teammates that the Matildas' quarter-final clash with France on Saturday night attracted the second-highest TV audience for an event in Australia since data started being tracked.

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The peak TV audience of 7.2 million is only eclipsed by a reported 8.8 million who watched Cathy Freeman's iconic 400m triumph at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It was well ahead of iconic Aussie sporting moments like Ash Barty's triumph in the 2022 Australian Open final, Lleyton Hewitt’s loss in the 2005 Australian Open final and the Wallabies’ loss to England in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final.

But amidst the mania that the Matildas have created, netball fans are questioning what the Diamonds have to do to garner similar interest. The Aussie netballers won a staggering 12th World Cup title last month after beating England in the final.

But there was no call for a public holiday then and certainly not as media coverage. The Diamonds don't even get any prize money for winning the World Cup, and the cash-strapped Netball Australia can't exactly afford to stump up any bonus payments.

Aussie Diamonds players, pictured here after their win at the Netball World Cup.
Aussie Diamonds players celebrate after their Netball World Cup triumph. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023 via Getty Images)

Working against the Diamonds was the fact the Netball World Cup was held in South Africa, while the Women's football World Cup is taking place in Australia. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know the football World Cup is going on, while the time difference in South Africa and lack of free-to-air TV coverage meant only netball fans would've known the Diamonds were playing.

Football is also the most-played sport around the world, while netball is predominantly only played by Commonwealth countries. Netball also doesn't have a strong men's equivalent to piggyback off, while women's football would attract hundreds of thousands of male fans due to the well-established male game.

Netball fans left fuming amid Matildas mania at World Cup

Nevertheless, netball fans have been calling out for more media coverage and government attention since the Matildas' World Cup campaign began. One fan wrote on social media: "Poor Aussie netball team, they’ve received absolutely no coverage about their World Cup win and don’t receive a cent for winning the World Cup."

Another wrote: "The Australian Diamonds won the Netball World Cup last week for the 12th time...but no offer of a public holiday for that achievement. In fact, very little media coverage at all."

A third added: "I'm pretty sure that if the women's soccer World Cup was being played in another country, Australians wouldn't even know the Matildas were playing, aka the Diamonds who just WON the World Netball Championships with NO MEDIA coverage." Others described the sub-par attention placed on the Diamonds' World Cup triumph as 'disrespectful' and 'shameful'.

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