Sports

Samantha Kerr: brings a new meaning to the name and the game

Long before you woke up bleary eyed again this morning at 5 am to watch the Matildas play Norway, the name Kerr as in Samantha, had already gone down in Australian history books. Thanks to Sir John Kerr, the governor-general who in the 1975 dismissal installed Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser in the Lodge. “Kerrs cur”, our sacked PM Gough Whitlam famously called Fraser, comparing to him to a mongrel dog.

Matildas skipper Sam Kerr is Australia's trump card.

Matildas skipper Sam Kerr is Australia's trump card.Credit:PA

Its “Kerrs slur” (if you can call it that) “suck on that one” that captured the public imagination this past week in the FIFA Womens World Cup. Captain Kerr's cheeky dismissal of her team's critics appeared almost overnight on T-shirts from Paris to Perth, and now from Nice to Newtown. It was a moment of uncharacteristic candour on the part of previous Perth Glory player, now captain and star striker of the Australian womens football team. Shes been notoriously tight lipped and diplomatic on so many issues, a fact that speaks to her character – our 25-year-old team leader is in essence a private person thrust into a very public place.

Only this week she opened up about her heartbreak over her brother Daniel Kerr, former West Coast Eagles star, whom she didnt speak to for two years because of his battles with addiction. Daniel Kerr has previously credited Sam's tough love as being the catalyst for him "starting to behave again", to get his family back.

Shes been restrained in the wash up from the Matildas coach Alen Stajcic's sacking in January 2019 by Football Federation Australia and his replacement by Ante Milicic following the results of confidential surveys and conversations with players and staff. Its interesting to note, too, that report was carried out by Our Watch, which was established to drive nationwide change in the culture, behaviours and attitudes that underpin and create violence against women.

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Lately too shes been talking about the other love of her life, her long-term girlfriend Nikki Stanton, a US soccer player who like her brother Daniel and his family, is in France cheering on Kerr and the Matildas. As well as subtley sharing some of the homophobic slurs shes been on the receiving end of on social media – the criticism she hinted at in her comeback at critics.

Like US soccer icon Mia Hamm, who in 1999 lead the US womens soccer team to to its victory, and became first the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame, Kerr has proved herself a great leader. Its not necessarily what she says, but how she says it, and then what she doesnt say. She's thoughtful and humble. Ash Barty, our now top-ranked tennis player, is much the same. I can only imagine how Bob Hawke, our dearly departed PM would have praised them both if hed lived to stay up all night cheering them on.

Surely there are lessons in all of this, not just for male athletes like fallen-from-grace footballers like Jarryd Hayne and his alleged sexual assaults through to disgraced cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner. There are lessons too for the mostly male advertising and sponsorship world.

Its time to stop paying lip service to our female national athletes and pay them more. Sure its not the days of Moya Dodds Matildas and the pitiful salaries they were once paid. But nor are theRead More – Source

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