HAPPY TIMES: Ipswich tennis player Ash Barty has led a resurgence in women's sport on the world stage.
HAPPY TIMES: Ipswich tennis player Ash Barty has led a resurgence in women's sport on the world stage. Jordan Mansfield

Australia can celebrate women's achievers



AUSTRALIA'S female sport goes from strength to strength with our top sportswomen delivering on the world stage.

It started last Sunday night when our Ipswich superstar Ash Barty won the Birmingham Classic to become the best female tennis player on the planet. That was an achievement an Aussie has not reached for over 40 years.

Just over three hours later, we were again cheering when surfer Sally Fitzgibbon rode her last wave to win the Oi Rio Open. Like Barty, she became the world number one.

Fitzgibbon has held this position before but over the past two years has suffered through lack of form and some severe injuries. She announced herself back onto the world stage.

Move forward six hours to early Monday morning and the female victories continued with unheralded golfer Hannah Green winning her first LPGA event.

She was a big outsider to win but after showing huge promise as a junior has now delivered on the major stage.

While these three sporting stars were putting Australia on the map around the world, female sport at home was also in the spotlight with the Women's State of Origin at North Sydney Oval.

The game was another tight tussle with the viewers on TV showing that female sport has become big business. More than 1.5 million viewers switched on to watch.

Women's sport is at an all-time high and it doesn't look like slowing down any time soon.

Eagles reunion

THE year was 1989 and the IRL premiers were the Goodna Eagles who accounted for the Fassifern Bombers 20-12.

The club is holding a three-day reunion for the team.

It starts today at the Ipswich races where the men will be hoping to back some fast horses. It continues tomorrow with a lunch at the club to watch some lower grade action and reminisce on what took place 30 years ago.

Sunday is recovery day where the men will gather for a quiet one and trade more stories.

For the record, the try scorers that day in 1989 were M Hikaiti, J Holt, G Butler and J Bannah. D Whitney kicked the only goal. G Butler and P Neal rounded out the scoring by both kicking field goals.

Goodna were coached that day by Shaun O'Loan and captained by George Bates with Lyle Reid doing the strapping.

RLI Rd 14 preview

WEST End v Norths (Saturday): West End have been disappointing of late but welcome back a few players this week-end.

Norths have been in pretty good form and need this win to keep their top four hopes alive.

The Bulldogs will have home field advantage where they seem to play a lot better. But that won't be enough if the Tigers play the football that coach Roberts know they can. The young Tigers side has welcomed back some experience in West and Stephan but fullback Biggs is the key marshalling them from the back.

Tip: Norths.

Fassifern v Redbank (Sunday): Fassifern put in an average first half last week against Brothers and must start quicker or this game could be out of their reach early.

Redbank also began slowly in their clash with Goodna last week but steadily worked into the game and came away with a draw. The Bombers will need their forwards to set the platform which will give Hooper and Range more time to organise their backline.

The Bears are on a run and haven't suffered defeat since round 6 on April 14. Their forwards do the tough stuff up the middle before Farren Willlett sets their backs alight. They want a top two finish so can't afford a slip-up in a game that is these for the taking.

Tip: Redbank.

Swifts v Brothers (Sunday): The game of the round. The winner of this one would hold the advantage going forward and will consolidate a top two position which is vital come finals time.

Swifts did enough last week to defeat Norths while Brothers accounted for Fassifern. Swifts are undefeated at home this year and have turned their field into a fortress for visiting teams. They play a no-frills game but do the little things right, which always puts them in a good position to win games.

Brothers have an experienced side who on their day can put any side to the sword. The depth at Brothers is amazing, which really helps.

Tip: Brothers.

Quick thoughts

SAINTS: 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo for winning the NBA MVP award for this season. He isn't called the Greek Freak for nothing. What an awesome year.

2. Ash Barty for winning the Birmingham Classic and becoming the world number one. She is a professional player on and off the court. Her performances have won her a legion of new fans.

Sinners: 1. Matildas captain Sam Kerr for her off field comments. She has to realise that when you lose the critics will come out in droves. Don't feed them.

Did you know? The most points scored by the Broncos in a game came when they defeated the Newcastle Knights 71-6 in 2007. The most scored against them was by the Parramatta Eels 68-22 in 2007.

Bomber's best: Unfortunately my tip that the Matildas would beat Norway came unstuck with a penalty shootout ending their World Cup dreams.

This week, check out the AFL where Richmond, Collingwood, GWS and Sydney all should win.

Top players

Player of the year latest points (3/2/1): Redbank v Goodna - 3 Ramon Filipine (Goodna), 2 Brett Kelly (Goodna), 1 Masei Teomatavui (Redbank).

Brothers v Fassifern: 3 Noah Elisaia (Brothers), 2 Wes Conlon (Brothers), 1 Mitchell Range (Fassifern).

Norths v Swifts: 3 Aaron Nemani (Swifts), 2 Steve West (Norths), 1 Jake O'Doherty (Swifts).

Leaderboard: 17 Wes Conlon (Brothers); 10 Jake O'Doherty (Swifts), Brett Kelly (Goodna), Aiden Boyce (West End).

Ladders: A Grade - Brothers 35, Swifts 34, Redbank 32, Goodna 30, Norths 25, West End 20, Fassifern 19.

Reserve Grade: Brothers 37, Goodna 36, Fassifern 32, Swifts 29, Redbank 25, Norths 19, Rosewood 17, West End 13.

Under 20: Brothers 26, Goodna 21, Redbank 17, Norths 14.

2nd Division: Brothers 18, Swifts 13, Fassifern 9, Goodna 9, Norths 7.