Sport has a great habit of polarising opinions and the news that W-League Champions Canberra United have give dual international Ellyse Perry and ultimatum is on such topic.
Perry like many of her Southern Stars and Matildas team mates is immensely talented at more than one sport. She has been so good that she has represented Australia at Cricket and Football and attended World Cups in both sports and has a winners medal from cricket.
Apart from being talented, Perry is the perfect athlete to be put up for the media. She is articulate and intelligent as well as epitomising the cliched image of an Australian woman, tall and blonde.
There have been many who have felt that this day should have come sooner, and that Perry was fortunate that the governing bodies of both sports allowed her to play two games that fight for her time every Summer, yet the Football Federation of Australia and Cricket Australia saw the massive publicity she generated. Whenever there was a story about her achievements in one sport the other benefitted indirectly.
One cannot really criticise the move taken by Canberra United CEO Heather Reid, who has admitted the pressure was coming from W-League coach of the year and Championship winning Jitka Klimkova, who was “trying to build a much more professional football culture and she needs players fully committed to football”.
Perry’s cricket commitments often forcing her to miss training and also games last year.
No doubt there will be other W-League clubs keen to sign Perry if not just for her footballing prowess but also for her ambassadorial attributes. The trouble is wherever she does end up there may well again be feelings of resentment that she is still permitted to play two sports.
It would be a shame for either sport to lose such a talent. There are other examples of dual international in women’s sport around the world, however many of these are in Winter and Summer sports, rather than two in the same season. No doubt this issue will be debated long and hard and polarise opinion, but at the end of the day the decision will come down to Perry herself, and we wish her luck reaching what she feels is the right one.