Former Matilda Amy Duggan is a commentator for Fox Sports.
Former Matilda Amy Duggan is a commentator for Fox Sports. Supplied

Kicking goals: Women playing in high definition

THIS year is shaping up to be the biggest yet for women's sport on our screens.  

The Hockeyroos start their bid for Commonwealth Games glory this week, while the Women's AFL continues to build a loyal following after two seasons.   

And with Foxtel committing to show 90 per cent of all women's sport across more than 60 codes, there will be more viewing opportunities for fans than ever before.  

The action on the soccer pitch kicks off, literally and figuratively, with The Matildas' AFC Women's Asian Cup bid this weekend.   

Following their decisive 5-0 victory in their friendly match against Thailand, The Matildas go into their group matches again South Korea, Vietnam and Japan as the favourites.   

Samantha Kerr of Australia celebrates after scoring Australia's second goal during the women's international match between the Australian Matildas and Brazil at Pepper Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Sydney.
Samantha Kerr of Australia celebrates after scoring Australia's second goal during the women's international match between the Australian Matildas and Brazil at Pepper Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Sydney. Zak Kaczmarek

"The top five teams from the Asian Cup qualify for the World Cup, so it would be nice for them to win and go into that World Cup ranked the Asian Confederation champions," Fox Sports commentator Amy Duggan tells The Guide.  

"They go into that tournament as favourites but you can't take any of these games lightly. Football is a funny game.   "Japan are the 2014 champions and even though they've dropped down the ranking to 11th, I still think they will be the toughest opponent. That game will be very important."   

A former Matildas defender who was first picked for the national team at 17 years old, just six years after she took up the sport, Duggan remembers having to pay her way just to represent her country.   

"It was very different back then. We had ill-fitting outfits, the facilities weren't great and we were paying for everything. I remember when we got our first lockers and our first matching training kits," she says.  

"Now there are financial incentives to stay in the game. It's a career now, not just a labour of love.  

"I still pinch myself that our game is mainstream now."  

Former Matilda Amy Duggan is a commentator for Fox Sports.
Former Matilda Amy Duggan is a commentator for Fox Sports. Supplied

While there is still work to be done in terms of the pay gap between the Matildas and their male counterparts in the Socceroos, Duggan believes financial security has helped to build a tight-knit and experienced team led by co-captains Lisa De Vanna and Clare Polkinghorne and star striker Sam Kerr.  

"One of the strengths of this side is that these girls have been together for so long. The top 30 players have been the top 30 players for five years now, " she says.  

"Clare is having one of the best years of her career at the moment. I remember her as a young player when I was finishing my career and she was just breaking into the national team. She's so dedicated, so disciplined and does the simple things really well. She has that inner fighter that gets the job done."  

Fox Sports 501 will air the Matildas' AFC Women's Asian Cup group matches live:

Matildas v South Korea: Sunday, April 8 at 2.30am EST

Vietnam v Matildas: Wednesday April 11 at 2.45am EST

Japan v Matildas: Friday April 13 at 11.30pm EST



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