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Australian News

Concussion injuries taking a toll on young athletes, despite advances at elite level


It was an innocuous head clash that would completely wipe Zabreena Manjerovic’s memory of the 2018 Tasmanian State League women’s grand final, and the premiership celebrations that followed.

Attacking a loose ball in the middle of Launceston’s York Park, Ms Manjerovic clipped heads with an opponent.

“I whiplashed, stood up and everything was spinning, blurred vision,” Ms Manjerovic said.

“I came to the boundary, did a concussion test and I passed, and they were like ‘yep, you’re sweet go back on’.”

Although Ms Manjerovic didn’t know it, it would be the last time she would ever step onto a football field.

It turned out to be the final blow after enduring seven concussions in eight years.

“The next day I had a massive headache and they asked me if I was just hungover. I said no, I know the difference between a hangover headache and a concussion headache,” Ms Manjerovic said.

“The Tuesday was really bad, so we called an ambulance, went to hospital. Couldn’t remember my name, my date of birth, didn’t know where I was. So then it was proper concussion onset, a delayed reaction.”

A young female footballer holds a grand final trophy
Zabreena Manjerovic celebrates after the 2018 TSLW grand final.(Supplied: Facebook)

Forced to live a quiet life

At just 22, Ms Manjerovic has been diagnosed with post concussion syndrome and was told by doctors she is at risk of early onset Alzheimer’s by the age of 35.

She’s already donated her brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank and believes there’s a chance she’ll be diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after her death, a brain condition caused by repeated blows to the head and only so far confirmed in a handful of recently deceased elite athletes.

Life for Ms Manjerovic is quiet.

She lives on her own in a recently purchased home at Molesworth, a small town nestled in hills a 40 minute drive from Hobart.

The tranquillity suits her, as her condition means she’s unable to deal with loud noises or bright lights.

Doctors have warned her against exercise and have only permitted her to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, or else she risks intense bouts of fatigue and dizziness.

“It’s usually get up, work four or five hours a day, go home and sleep. I can’t go out, I’m stuck at home,” Ms Manjerovic said.

“If I just want a casual catchup, I can’t. I’m just not well enough.”

Smiling young woman sits on deck of house with brown dog sitting next to her
Zabreena Manjerovic lives a quite life these days, doctors have warned her against exercising.(ABC News: Peter Curtis)

Ms Manjerovic isn’t pointing the finger at anybody in particular, but does believe her zest for playing football, and a “she’ll be right” culture that allowed her to repeatedly put her head in the firing line, contributed to her condition.

She believes local and amateur sports people are largely in the dark about the dangers of concussion.

“Nobody knows much about it and people are ignorant like I was. they think it’s never going to happen to me,” Ms Manjerovic said.

‘I couldn’t speak’

When 14-year-old Holly Radburn was knocked out for a third time in 2018 while playing representative football, she says an official from another club indicated she’d be ok to return to play in a matter of weeks, but her symptoms have lingered for 18 months, rendering her unable to play any contact sport.

Last year, she suffered her fourth concussion and was unconscious for “about a minute” before her mother was told by an official to hastily remove her from the playing field in a breach of protocol.

“My mum, who didn’t know about concussions at all, had to walk me off the field, and they didn’t even check my neck or anything,” Ms Radburn said.

“They started asking me questions and I couldn’t speak, and panic just set in.

Young girl sits at table, photos and pictures in the background behind her.
Holly Radburn says a senior coach encouraged her to play days after being knocked out.(ABC News: Peter Curtis)

Holly missed two months of school and can now only attend three classes a week due to intense fatigue.

“I felt like I should act like I’m OK because nobody cared,” Ms Radburn said.

“Because I was so young, I felt like everyone knew so much more than me and I had to act OK.”

Unclear guidelines at amateur levels

Concussion and its effects are grabbing more headlines at the elite level of football, but at the local and community level, management and identification of concussion is often done in a haphazard manner.

AFL Tasmania says all Tasmanian clubs should operate under the AFL’s Community Concussion guidelines.

Those guidelines state among other things that all players with a suspected concussion need an urgent medical assessment with a registered medical doctor, and that any player with a suspected concussion should be removed from the game and not allowed to return.

Physiotherapist Matt Jensen, who has been treating Holly Radburn for several months, believes that while concussion and head knocks are inevitable in contact sport, those guidelines aren’t always adhered to.

A man wearing a collared long sleeved shirt smiles at the camera with a treadmill in the background.
Physiotherapist Matt Jensen believes there needs to be better handling of suspected concussions on-field.(ABC News: Pete Curtis)

He said some amateur and junior clubs were lost when it comes to appropriately managing potentially serious head injuries.

“[They] dance between sports trainers which have a little bit of knowledge and make too broad a call, to people who are a little bit of the ‘oh you’ll be right, you’ll come good’,” Mr Jensen said.

“If it was my on-field management, I would have left her [Holly] exactly where she was and called an ambulance.”

It’s a view shared by neuroscientist and research manager of the Australian Sports Brain Bank, Associate Professor Alan Pearce.

He is happy with the progress the elite level of sport is making when it comes to identifying and managing concussion, but doubts the same care and concern is being implemented at the community level.

“At this stage, we need to see more evidence that acceptance of the injury is actually coming through.”

Call for tougher penalties for dangerous knocks

When 21-year-old Liam Kendell was knocked out in an off-the-ball incident while playing senior amateur football earlier this year, he lost about 30 minutes of his memory and was ruled out for the remaining four weeks of the season.

“I guess I was just more confused. It’s a weird situation to be in, it’s not like anything I’ve experienced in the past. I’d definitely say it’s not a positive feeling, ” Mr Kendell said.

Young man sits on gym equipment in gymnasium.
Local footballer Liam Kendall wants tougher penalties issued for dangerous knocks(ABC News: Cameron Atkins)

The offending player was offered a four-week ban by the league, but had it thrown out on appeal after successfully arguing the report was not lodged in time to the tribunal.

For Mr Kendell, the lack of justice for what he believed to be a clear-cut illegal incident which was caught on video left him bewildered.

“I think if anyone looks at vision like that of themselves getting knocked out when they’re not braced or ready for the contact, they’re not going to be happy about it. I was angry about it,” Mr Kendell said.

Steps in the right direction

Attitudes are improving in some quarters of the local game though.

The North Hobart football club is making in-roads in its management of concussion with baseline testing of its players at the beginning of each season and a firm implementation of the “when in doubt, sit it out” mantra.

“We run concussion workshops with our physiotherapists and have a concussion policy online,” said head trainer Ashleigh Pearton.

A woman wearing glasses and a terracotta blazer holds a replica of a human brain.
Deborah Byrne wants to see more education on concussions and their risks.(ABC News: Dane Meale)

“It depends on the club you’re at and the level of support you have behind you and the education you have too.

The Brain Injury Association of Tasmania wants increased education on the dangers and long-term effects of concussion delivered through the state’s schools.

“If you have a look at say family violence, or coward punch or even bike helmets, we tend to put that in at the younger age and it carries through,” executive officer Deborah Byrne said.

“But I don’t think we’re putting enough emphasis on concussion and the risk of concussion at the local level, and for younger players.”



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Australian News

Body found inside burning car in Smithfield, Sydney


A body has been discovered inside a car found burning in Sydney’s west as police scramble for information on Saturday morning.

The body, which is yet to be formally identified, was located after firefighters extinguished a car engulfed in flames on Brenan Street at Smithfield.

NSW Police have called for anyone who might have captured the car on dashcam footage to come forward as they investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire.

Emergency services were called to the scene about 8.20am following reports of a car well alight.

Officers from Fairfield police have established a crime scene and are appealing for anyone with information or footage from Brenan Street between 7.30am and 9am today to come forward.

Vision can be handed into any police station or uploaded anonymously to Crime Stoppers online.

Brenan Street is mostly residential with the exception of the large Brenan Park located near Smithfield RSL.

Local road closures were in place and motorists are urged to avoid the area.

A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000



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Geelong’s Harry Taylor announces his retirement after Cats’ AFL grand final heartbreak


Two-time premiership defender Harry Taylor has announced his AFL retirement, describing his career at Geelong as “one hell of a ride”.

The 34-year-old, who played 280 games over 13 seasons, joins Gary Ablett in retirement.

Taylor tasted premiership success with Geelong in 2009 and 2011 and was twice named in the All-Australian team.

He finishes in equal ninth place for most games played at Geelong, and his 31 finals is the fourth most in league history.

Taylor, who was snared with pick number 17 in the 2007 national draft as a 21-year-old, thanked Geelong and the club’s fans for their support over the years.

Geelong's Gary Ablett gives the thumbs up as he is hugged by Harry Taylor after the AFL preliminary final against Brisbane.
Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor after the Cats’ preliminary final win.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

“I limped into the Geelong Football Club bright eyed and determined back in 2007 and limp off 4,723 days later in 2020 proud that I have given my absolute best to our great club,” Taylor said.

“The one-on-one contests, the ice baths, the heartbreaking losses and the unbelievable victories at home or far away. I have tried to prepare as well as possible for every battle.

“We both know I didn’t move like the most graceful looking footballer, nor did I subscribe to the AFL player stereotype.

“I would have loved to have helped our great club win more games and more premierships but I leave having fully committed to the process and the values of our organisation. It’s been one hell of a ride.”

Taylor’s last game was the 31-point grand-final loss to Richmond last week.

Harry Taylor gives a fist pump after kicking a goal for the Cats.
Taylor played 280 games for Geelong, and won two premierships.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Ablett had already announced his retirement earlier in the season, but Taylor’s future was unclear following the grand final defeat.

Geelong’s general manager of football Simon Lloyd said Taylor wanted a low-key retirement and the club respected his wishes.

“Harry continued to play exceptional football until his final game,” Taylor said.

“He has demonstrated an insatiable appetite to continue to learn and has always been highly invested in the betterment of the team, club and community.”

AAP



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Local News - Victoria

Sammy J shares his lessons from lockdown


The CBD tells a similar tale of wasted investment. It’s particularly brutal seeing all the Comedy Festival ads plastered over empty trams. I was one of many performers with a show planned in April.

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After rescheduling, then rescheduling again, I finally pulled the pin when our second lockdown arrived.

Despite that disappointment, I can’t complain about work during this pandemic. As a non-essential part of an essential institution I’ve had the huge fortune of a regular job, allowing me the freedom to leave home and present a radio show every morning.

So I haven’t experienced the worst of lockdown, and I can’t speak to the pain of those who have.

But I’ve still learnt some things during this weird time. I always thought doing radio would be like doing the comedy festival – prepare, rehearse, perform.

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In practice, you can’t “perform” for two and a half hours every day. Particularly at the crack of dawn after half a banana and an instant coffee.

At some point you have to be yourself, be vulnerable, and – in perhaps the cruellest blow of all for a comedian – be sincere.

We’ll all take something different from 2020. For me, that’s my lesson – not everything has to be a joke, and not everything can be.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve still worn a mankini in the studio and obnoxiously played musical theatre songs over Mick Malthouse as he tries to give me footy tips.

But at other times I’ve had to put stupidity aside and chat to people who are struggling, people whose families are far away, and people who – like all of us – still don’t know how to process this dumpster fire of a year.

Because when we couldn’t get together in person, radio helped us hold on to a sense of community. I’ll be forever grateful that I was part of that community this year, and I suspect it meant more to me than the listeners much of the time. See that? I was sincere just then. You wouldn’t have heard that in 2019, I guarantee it.

I can also happily report that after a lifetime of peak-hour gridlock frustration, cycling down an empty Hoddle Street is quite cathartic. And now that we’re finally easing ourselves out of lockdown, l might just treat myself to some gourmet yoghurt.

Sammy J hosts the breakfast show on ABC Radio Melbourne, 5.30am-8am weekdays. His new album, Cross Country, is released on November 5 through ABC Music.

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Final Newspoll predicts Palaszczuk Labor win


Labor is tipped to win Queensland’s Saturday election but may need to rely on minor parties to form the next government, a final poll reveals.

The final Newspoll of the campaign, published in The Weekend Australian newspaper, reveals Labor holds a two-preferred party lead over the LNP, 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent.

Labor’s primary vote of 37 per cent has just inched out the LNP’s vote of 36 per cent but the numbers are an improvement from results at the 2017 election.

Both parties are poised to snatch seats from each other in marginal seats as Queenslanders cast their votes today.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has already cast her vote in Townsville – a marginal Labor seat that could be a decider in the final count.

47 seats are needed to form a majority government.

Some seats in Labor’s Brisbane heartland, including Grace Grace’s seat of McConnel and former Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s South Brisbane seat, have come under threat of falling to the Greens.

The LNP is at risk of losing Pumicestone, Currumbin and Caloundra.

Meanwhile, support has fallen for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, down to 10 per cent from her 2017 results of 13.7 per cent.

The Newspoll results follow consistent polling showing Annastacia Palaszczuk is the preferred Premier over the LNP Leader Deb Frecklington.

Both party leaders have continued to deny they will do any deals to form a minority government.

At the final leader’s debate, Ms Palaszczuk asked voters to stick with “stability” as she continued her attack on Ms Frecklington for wanting the state borders open.

“Queenslanders can trust me because every day I am keeping them safe and doing everything I possibly can to ensure that we do not see what has happened in other parts of the world and what happened in Victoria,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That’s what drives me and people know me.”



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Penrith Panthers fined $10,000 after excited fans breached COVID-19 health orders at grand final


Penrith Panthers have been fined $10,000 after excited fans were seen mingling, hugging and drinking while standing at the club during last Sunday’s National Rugby League grand final, in breach of COVID safety orders.

NSW Liquor and Gaming said footage showed the club’s patrons “couldn’t contain their enthusiasm”, but the behaviour was “not fair” on the club, its staff or the community.

“We expect better behaviour from patrons who need to be aware of the rules when attending a venue,” Liquor and Gaming director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said.

“At the same time, venues need to make sure they are adequately implementing their safety plans particularly when higher patron numbers are expected due to special events.”

The Olympic Stadium was also fined $5,000 for public health order breaches during the grand final after people gathered together on the stadium’s balcony to watch the game.

Two other venues at Sydney Olympic Park, the Brewery at the Novotel and the Locker Room were also fined $5,000 for breaches.

Liquor and Gaming warned that COVID transmission was still a risk at sport finals, school formals and party season functions for Christmas and New Year.

“These are all events where caution can be forgotten,” Mr Argeres said.

“But don’t forget life isn’t quite back to normal yet and if we want to enjoy summer with our friends and families, we need to keep COVID transmission low.”

School cleaned after positive case

Meanwhile, Cabramatta High School in Sydney’s south-west is closed for cleaning after a student tested positive to COVID-19 yesterday.

Staff and students have been advised to self-isolate.

HSC exams at the school were not affected, although those taking tests on Monday will be contacted about arrangements for exams that day.

A nurse testing someone through a car window in Bondi.
Coronavirus is a risk for people celebrating Halloween, authorities have warned.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Another locally acquired case reported yesterday was for a child who attended the Flip Out Prestons Trampoline centre.

NSW Health said anyone who visited the trampoline centre on Sunday, October 25 between 11:00am and 2:00pm is now considered a close contact and must get tested straight away.

Anyone who went to Flip Out on Sunday, October 25 after 2:00pm is now considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms.

Health authorities are also urging Halloween trick-or-treaters tonight to take coronavirus precautions.

People are being advised to give out individually wrapped lollies, and avoid sharing masks and costumes.

Anyone who is sick or in self-isolation is reminded not to open the door for trick-or-treaters.



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Local News - Victoria

One new case of COVID-19 recorded, no deaths as social long weekend looms


Saturday’s single case comes as Melburnians revel in the long weekend – the first weekend that restaurants, cafes and retail has been open since July – with home visits now sanctioned.

Melburnians can have two people from the same household plus dependents visit their home. Only one ‘visiting event’ can happen per person per day.

Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians on Friday not to become lax as case numbers drop and to keep social distancing rules in mind and shoppers and revellers hit the streets.

“Whether it is washing your hands, coughing into the crook of your arm … all the way through to a cafe owner making sure tables are appropriately spaced and making sure you are keeping a record of everybody who is coming into the shop or the store,” he told reporters.

“All of these things, they can seem simple and very small but they all add up to what we have built – something that is precious but something that is fragile,” he said.

Mr Andrews confirmed the state was still on track to lift restrictions such as the 25-kilometre limit on November 8 if case numbers continued as they had this week.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton encouraged Melburnians to call out COVID-19 rule breakers, whether they be friends, family or those out in the community.

“If you see [friends or family] who have a cough or runny nose, politely but firmly decline them attending your house or seeing them,” he said.

“If people are cramming inside an indoor area and not following the density quota and the distancing and hygiene measures … they’re putting everyone’s health at risk and we should pull them up on it.”

Four COVID-19 cases emerged on Friday, with two considered ‘weak positives’ which could be removed from the daily tally after investigations by a expert panel. Another case might be a historical case, while one case still under investigation.

The four cases were found across Wyndham, Brimbank, Hume and Greater Dandenong council areas.

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The Andrews government is in talks on the possibility of establishing a single “coronavirus hospital” to treat all COVID-19 patients in a plan aimed at freeing up the state’s healthcare system and stopping the spread of the virus among families .

A proposal to use one site to treat all coronavirus patients, and to quarantine Victorians who test positive to COVID-19 in hospital, rather than hotels, if they cannot safely self-isolate at home, was discussed in meetings this week between officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and Safer Care Victoria.

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Victoria records one new case


Victoria has recorded just one new case of COVID-19 and recorded no further deaths on Saturday.

It brings Melbourne’s rolling 14 day average to 2.4, with health authorities saying there are now only two active mystery cases with an unknown origin in the community.

Regional Victoria’s rolling average sits at 0.

Saturday’s numbers represent a fall from Friday when four new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the local government areas of Wyndham, Brimbank, Hume and Greater Dandenong.

Two of the diagnoses were under review due to initial low positive tests results and subsequent negative results.

The two mystery cases were in the postcodes 3081 and 3152, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The state’s total case numbers were sitting at 20,347 as of Friday afternoon, and will be updated later today.

It comes as Melburnians enjoy their first weekend back on the town since the relaxation of the city’s strict lockdown laws.

Local pubs, bars, restaurants and businesses have welcomed customers back following Wednesday’s windback, with Kmart stores copping a wave of shoppers as the clock struck midnight on October 28.

More to come.



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These women are changing the sound of sport — and they offer lessons that stretch far beyond the commentary box


Entering a profession that’s been dominated by the opposite gender for decades can be challenging and unnerving at first.

Having to go above and beyond to prove you’re capable of doing the job is an unfortunate reality for many people, even in 2020 — and for women the field of sport is no exception.

These three ground-breaking commentators have found their voice in what has traditionally been a man’s world — and their experiences offer lessons that can help us in all fields of life.

Rise above assumptions

Alison Mitchell was the first woman to become a regular commentator on BBC’s Test Match Special, from 2007. She was the first woman to call men’s cricket ball by ball on ABC Radio in 2014. In 2018 she joined Channel Seven’s cricket commentary team.

In the early stages of her career as a commentator, she had to counter a presumption that men know about sport in a way that women don’t.

“It’s assumed that you don’t know what you’re talking about,” the UK broadcaster tells ABC RN’s Sporty.

“The number of times where people said to me, ‘Oh, you report on cricket? Do you like cricket?’ — as if that was a strange thing, for a woman to like it enough to actually understand it.”

Alison Mitchell commentates during day three of the Third Test match in the series between Australia and New Zealand in 2020.
Defying initial assumptions has been gratifying for Mitchell, pictured here commentating on a Test series.(Getty: Ryan Pierse)

In fact, Mitchell did her university thesis on the relationship between cricket and television.

“I actually had a 12,000-word document which proved I understood the nuances of the game,” she says.

But defying those initial assumptions was gratifying for Mitchell.

“I would get lots of emails from men, surprised at what I knew, and pleasantly surprised that a woman could talk so knowledgeably about cricket,” she says.

“And you could take that as being really condescending, but I would just tuck those emails away and think, ‘OK, that’s another person whose view I’ve changed about what women can know about sport.'”

The lesson? Know and value your own expertise.

You are not an imposter

Lauren Arnell grew up watching and playing AFL, and knows how to dissect the sport with precision from both on and off the field.

But when the time came to commentate on her first game, she experienced a level of apprehension.

Brisbane Lions player Lauren Arnell smiles as she holds a football at training in Brisbane.
Arnell was the inaugural captain of the Carlton AFLW team, subsequently playing for the Brisbane Lions. She is also a part of ABC Radio’s Grandstand commentary team for the AFL men’s competition.(ABC News: Tim Swanston)

“It wasn’t something I thought I could do until it actually happened, to be quite honest with you,” she says.

For weeks and weeks to come, she questioned whether she could do it. Was she the right fit?

“Obviously as a female voice, is that what people want to listen to? But also, is what I’m saying valid?”

Now, in her fourth season of commentating, she finally feels “quite comfortable”.

The lesson? You don’t have to feel 100 per cent ready. Jump in the deep end, and you might surprise yourself with how well you can swim.

Diversity matters. So does your opinion

Portrait of a striking middle aged woman with blonde hair, red lipstick, wearing a navy jumpsuit against a blue backdrop.
Bridie O’Donnell is a cycling commentator and a medical doctor.(Supplied)

Former road cyclist Bridie O’Donnell has also felt the need to prove that women can understand and communicate sport at the same level as men.

“It feels crazy just saying these words,” says O’Donnell, who represented Australia at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 UCI Road World Championships.

But she says women bring a “diverse opinion or perspective” to men’s events — be it cricket, cycling or football — and the impact of that is only positive.

And that diversity of thought is relevant far beyond the boundaries of sport.

Earlier this year O’Donnell became the first woman to commentate for the Tour de France for SBS TV.

She loved being able to draw on her road cycling expertise.

“When you know so much about the sport and you’ve experienced what it’s like to be exhausted or to crash or to win a race or to not win, you can bring that lived experience and insight,” she says.

“You don’t have to you have played men’s Test cricket to know what to look for or what to describe.

“I think it was a bit of an aha moment for a lot of people.”

Arnell commentates on the AFL for ABC Radio, where the broadcast has national reach.

Kelli Underwood holding binoculars in commentary box alongside Lauren Arnell with both wearing headsets.
Lauren Arnell commentating on AFLW with Kelli Underwood.(ABC News)

She says people text in from all over the country, and from some “quite rural spaces”, to tell her they like the way she describes the game.

“It’s always nice to get reinforcement that you are doing your job well, and a truckie in the middle of Kalgoorlie can understand what’s happening in the game in Brisbane — [that is] pretty awesome,” she says.

She thinks her diversity of experiences as a school teacher as well as a football player and coach works to her advantage.

“That might give me a bit more relatability than, say, a past men’s player who has been in the system 24/7, and speaking a language that your traditional listener and your average truckie may not understand over the radio.”

She says it might also inspire others to aim a little higher, and see others in a new light.

“Your typical male listener or female listener [might be] listening in and saying, ‘Hey, maybe there’s someone else in my life who is more than capable of doing that too’.”

That resonates with Mitchell, who says her presence on the airwaves helps people feel included in a space traditionally dominated by men.

“Last summer in Australia a family stopped me, and a father was there with his young daughter and he just said, ‘Thank you for what you do on the ABC because when my daughter hears your voice, she then feels that cricket is for her as well’,” she says.

“That for me encapsulated why mixed commentary teams can have an impact, because you’re speaking to a broader audience, and that is what it’s got to be about, isn’t it? It’s bringing more and more people in.”

The lesson? You have a diverse range of life experiences to draw on that give you a unique way of looking at the world, and that’s a good thing it can help others feel like they belong.

Some days will suck. Don’t give up

Despite there being plenty of highlights throughout their commentating careers, Arnell, Mitchell and O’Donnell have also experienced the odd lowlight too.

“I think the start is just a sense of being completely disregarded, spoken over, or saying something that you think is insightful and literally 10 seconds later having a male broadcaster repeat exactly what you just said,” O’Donnell says.

“That’s not something single to broadcasting, we see that in boardrooms, and that famous cartoon that Gillian Triggs talks about which is, ‘That’s a wonderful idea, Gillian, perhaps one of the men would like to have it’.

“Then I started to think, well, why am I here? If you’re just actually going to steal my ideas live on air, what value is that? And that doesn’t make for good broadcasting, and neither does speaking over other people or interrupting them. So that’s a negative experience.”

Speaking up for your values
O’Donnell encourages speaking up in the workplace.(Supplied)

Mitchell says she’s only had one really negative moment, when she sat down in a commentary box to call one of her first ever international games.

A male peer sat down next to her and said: “Hello legs.”

“I felt very glad actually for the support of the producer who I was working with then because he absolutely just said, ‘Right, I don’t think he will be working with us again’,” she says.

“It was just a moment. The massage of my shoulders on the way out of the box also wasn’t terribly welcome.”

Arnell, who’s also done some television, feels uncomfortable about the expectations of her appearance when reporting on-air.

“I think having to present yourself in a certain way, being female, being expected to look a certain way, have your hair and your makeup a certain way, that is certainly something that has never been enjoyable for me,” she says.

“I’m a pretty laid-back person, particularly if I’m just going to watch a game of football, I’m not really overly interested in dressing up.

“So arriving at a football game to work on air on television has been challenging for me in the past, and certainly the experience for me, the types of reactions from the crowd if I’m walking around the boundary line with full hair and make-up, boots and a long coat is very different to if I was arriving at a game and sitting in the outer and watching it.”

The lesson? Breaking down barriers isn’t easy. Some people will make your life hard, just because of your gender. But every day won’t be bad. All three commentators say the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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News Corp Australasia CEO Michael Miller and Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci call on nominations


Still reeling from Black Summer, Australians were plunged into the global pandemic before catching a breath. So how do we rebuild after a year like 2020? We can start by saying thank you, one million times over.

Today’s launch of Thanks a Million: Pride of Australia invites all Australians to publicly express our gratitude. A partnership between Woolworths and News Corp Australia, Thanks a Million will gather one million names between now and Australia Day – declared a national day of thanks by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“We are proud to announce this significant partnership with Woolworths to support our Pride of Australia campaign,” said Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia.

“This year, the check-out staff, shelf stackers, newsagents and delivery drivers went from everyday workers to everyday heroes. It seems only appropriate that our two companies join together to say one big thank you.

“Not just to our teams, but to all the teams of frontline workers around Australia who kept us fed, informed and looked after,” he said.

Mr Miller called on other corporate and community leaders to participate.

“Thank you to your teams, to the unsung heroes, to the quiet achievers and especially to those who found themselves on the frontline, often unexpectedly, during this pandemic and who stood up and stood strong for their communities,” he said.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said mental rather than physical fatigue was the issue for many. He was personally moved to receive thoughtful messages on R U OK Day, just one example of what he calls “Team Australia.”

“That extended team (includes) our competitors – Coles, Aldi, Metcash. It (includes) the states and the federal governments (and) different charity partners, whether it’s OzHarvest, FareShare, Foodbank or Meals on Wheels.

“If we can take these wonderful learnings out of what has happened to us and replicate it in some modest way going forward, that’s unbelievably powerful,” he said.

News Corp Australia community ambassador Penny Fowler said Pride of Australia has shone a light on Australians making a difference for the past 16 years.

“This year, so many people’s daily jobs became truly extraordinary acts and we are asking our readers to call out all those people in their community – their neighbour, newsagent, health worker or local supermarket team – and say thank you.

“Thank you for all they have done for their communities, because in 2020, every Australian is the Pride of Australia,” Ms Fowler said.



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