The Lendlease Breakers created history on Wednesday October 5 by becoming the first fully professional team in Australian domestic women’s sport, thanks to a landmark sponsorship by Lendlease.
The ground breaking announcement was made at the SCG by CEO of Cricket NSW, Andrew Jones, and attended by the dignitaries including the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Sport, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Treasurer and Patron of the Sydney Sixers WBBL team, and Mrs Linda Hurley, Patron of the Lendlease Breakers and wife of the NSW Governor.
“This truly is a landmark moment,” Mr Jones said. “Cricket NSW has always been a leader in women’s sport and today we are proud to announce another first.
“Every member of the Lendlease Breakers squad now has the opportunity to pursue a professional sporting career.
“I am confident that every state in Australia will now follow the lead of Cricket NSW by giving their female cricketers the opportunity to earn a living wage.”
The Lendlease Breakers will now earn at least the minimum wage of $35,000, with the leading international players making $100,000 or more. This gives all NSW female players the opportunity to follow their dreams and pursue a fulltime career in cricket.
“Cricket NSW is committed to growing and professionalising women’s cricket by attracting and retaining the best athletes, providing world-class facilities, coaching and support staff, and offering all of our athletes a professional pathway,” continued Jones.
For young batter Ashleigh Gardner, this is life-changing. “Cricket has always been my passion, however I never really thought that I would be able to play professionally. In the back of my mind I was always having to consider how I needed to juggle school work, studies, one day having a job and a family, with my training and matches. To know now that I don’t need to worry about juggling all of this at once, and can really commit to my training and play professionally is incredible.”
Chris Lamb, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Lendlease commented, “For seven years we have supported the Lendlease Breakers and have watched closely as the quality of the game has improved, yet provisions for players have not.
“At Lendlease we are committed to a level playing field giving women and men the same chance to succeed as we know this hasn’t always been the case for women in our industry and society. It’s time for the sporting industry to do the same.
“We’re proud to join Cricket NSW at the forefront of this change as we expand our sponsorship to professionalise the Lendlease Breakers. Together we will lead a necessary journey towards gender equity in sport in Australia.”
The Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Sport, said, “In a country that idolises its sporting heroes, it’s fantastic to see our talented female athletes are receiving the recognition they deserve with the professionalisation of the Lendlease Breakers.
"Our female athletes are fast securing the global wins capturing hearts and minds, and ensuring we get the balance right across the board will be the only way to get more women and girls playing sport, in coaching and officiating roles and on our boards and committees."
Mr Jones concluded, “Partnering with progressive sponsors like Lendlease, who share this long-term vision of diversity and inclusion, has allowed us to make this commitment a reality. We are on this exciting journey together and this a landmark day in the history of Australian sport.”
The Lendlease Breakers play their first Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) match against South Australia at the Gabba next Thursday, October 13.
Lendlease Breakers WNCL Schedule
October 13 v South Australia, Gabba
October 14 v Tasmania, Gabba
October 16 v Queensland, Gabba
October 29 v Western Australia, Blacktown
November 18 v Victoria, Cranbourne
November 20 v ACT, Blacktown
December 3, Final