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News

NSW Women go fully professional

New South Wales cricketers will be the first Australian female domestic athletes to go fully professional, via a landmark deal that will push the wages of some players beyond six figures

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
06-Oct-2016
Ashleigh Gardner poses ahead of Cricket New South Wales' announcement, Sydney, October 6, 2016

Ashleigh Gardner: "To know now that I can really commit to my training and play professionally is incredible"  •  Getty Images

New South Wales cricketers will be the first Australian female domestic athletes to go fully professional, via a landmark deal that will push the wages of some players beyond six figures.
Cricket NSW unveiled a two-season deal with the sponsor LendLease that will ensure all members of the Breakers squad earn at least a minimum wage of A$35,000 a year. Combined with WBBL and Southern Stars payments, this will mean the likes of Ellyse Perry will now draw in a cricket salary in excess of $100,000.
The announcement arrived ahead of negotiations for a new MOU between Australia's cricketers and Cricket Australia, with women's pay and conditions set to be a key battleground. NSW officials hope the LendLease underwrite will be a trendsetter for players around the nation.
"This truly is a landmark moment," NSW chief executive Andrew 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.
"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."
While the deal has been in the works for quite some time, it has grown in pertinence through recent advances in playing and payment opportunities for women in other sports such as AFL and netball. The new deal will again place cricket in the vanguard of women's sport.
As the young Breakers batsman Ashleigh Gardner put it: "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."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig