Sport in Western Australia
Sport is an important part of the culture of Western Australia.
- 1 Major sports
- 2 Other sports
- 3 Events
- 4 Awards
- 5 References
Australian rules football
Along with cricket, Australian rules football is one of the main sports. Western Australia has two teams in the Australian Football League (AFL): the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Football Club (the "Fremantle Dockers"). The "home" of Australian rules football in Perth is Subiaco Oval. There is also a local West Australian Football League (WAFL) with nine clubs representing metropolitan regions. Australian rules football is the most popular football code in Western Australia with over 1,030,000 spectators attending WAFL and AFL matches in 2004.
Western Australia's number one basketball team is the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League. The Wildcats' sister team is the Perth Lynx of the Women's National Basketball League. Western Australia also has a second-tier basketball league, the State Basketball League, with teams located in Perth, Rockingham, Mandurah, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and Geraldton.
Cricket is one of the main sports in Western Australia. Western Australia has a state cricket team, the Western Warriors, based at the WACA Ground. They play in the Sheffield Shield and the Ford Ranger One Day Cup. The Perth Scorchers also represent WA in the Twenty20 Big Bash domestic competition and have been the most successful franchise since the competition's inception. The WACA also hosts international Test and One Day International cricket matches. The Western Fury represent WA in the Women's National Cricket League.
Perth has a strong regional field hockey competition. There are many field hockey clubs for children, men, women and veterans (over 40 year of age). Western Australia contributes significantly to the national Australian men's and ladies' hockey teams which have both been winners of Olympic Gold Medals.
Normally at least one international golf tournament is held in WA each year, with the Johnnie Walker Classic at The Vines Resort & Country Club in Jan 2006 as part of both the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. In past years international tournaments have also been held at the Karrinyup Country Club. The Heineken Classic was held in WA throughout the 1990s and was at times the richest tournament held in Australia.
Horse racing is very popular with a metropolitan race meeting every Saturday, fortnightly mid week meetings and weekly meetings at one of the major country centres. The Perth Cup is the state's premier race held each New Years Day at Ascot Racecourse. The metropolitan tracks are Ascot for the spring and summer months and Belmont Park during the wetter autumn and winter months.
Many country towns have a racecourse and a major race day each year. These meetings are often the centrepiece of the communities activities, coinciding with other local events.
Netball is the highest female participation sport in females in Western Australia, with more than 150,000 participants. West Coast Fever plays in the ANZ Championship, and is the premier netball team in WA. Their home court is HBF Stadium, occasionally playing at Perth Arena.
Western Australia's first rugby league team to play in a national competition were the Western Reds, who played in the 1995 and 1996 seasons of the Australian Rugby League. In 1997 they changed their name to the Perth Reds and joined the Super League as inaugural members.
In 2006 the Western Australia Rugby League resurrected the team as the WA Reds to compete in the Jim Beam Cup from 2008, with a view to entering the National Rugby League competition in 2012. Their home ground is Perth Oval.
Western Australia is the home of the Western Force, a franchise in the Super Rugby rugby union competition (formerly the Super 14 before the addition of the Melbourne Rebels for the 2011/12 season). Their home ground is NIB Stadium.
Perth Glory competes in the national A-League. In the previous National Soccer League, Perth Glory was a relatively successful team by winning the last titles of the NSL (2002-03 & 2003-04). Perth Glory's home games are played at NIB Stadium, although they have played finals at Subiaco Oval.
The 20 km Rottnest Channel Swim is an individual and teams swimming race from Cottesloe to Rottnest and held annually.
The FINA World Championships were held in Perth in 1991 and 1998.
Western Australia also hosts the annual Hopman Cup mixed tennis tournament at Perth Arena (previously at the Burswood Dome). Davis Cup and Federation Cup ties have also been held at the Royal King's Park Tennis Club.
Baseball is becoming increasingly popular in Western Australia. Baseball WA is the governing body of baseball in Western Australia and oversees the organization of the sport in the area. The highest level of play in Australia is the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and has a team in Western Australia, the Perth Heat. The Heat won the inaugural championship during the 2010-2011 season. The team plays at the Barbagallo Ballpark.
In 2002, Perth hosted the World Lacrosse Games, which included the World Lacrosse Championships (won by the United States), the Australian Youth Lacrosse Championship, a Masters (35+ year old), Grandmasters (45+), and International Open Championships.
Motorsport is very popular in Western Australia with numerous national and international events being held.
Rally Australia, which is a part of the World Rally Championship (WRC) was held each year on the gravel roads in the south-west jarrah forests as well as special stages held in central Perth at either Gloucester Park or on Langley Park. It was recognised as one of the best rallies internationally and attracted thousands of overseas tourists each year. There has been a large push to have the event returned to Western Australia, as of 2016 there has not been any of the required support from the state government. The final running of the event in WA occurred in October 2006.
The first round of the Australian Rally Championship is held yearly in the forests near Nannup.
The Western Australian Rally Championship is held throughout the south west between March and November. The championship is host to some of the longest running rallies in the world and has seen increasing numbers of both competitors and spectators each year.
Targa West is held near Perth and Toodyay yearly and attracts large crowds. A similar event Targa South West is held yearly in the southwest towns of Pemberton and Manjimup.
There are numerous yacht clubs in Perth and regional centres.
A number of decorated international players have come from Perth. The Tom Hoad Cup is held each December.
Perth has hosted a number of international and national sporing events, including:
- the 1921, 1937, 1956, 1972 and 1979 Australian National Football Carnivals
- the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games
- the 1979 Australian Grand Prix
- the 1991 and 1998 World Aquatics Championships
- the 2006 Gravity Games
- rounds in the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
- rounds in the V8 Supercars
- the Avon Descent (annually)
- the City to Surf (annually)
- the Hopman Cup (annually)
- the Rottnest Channel Swim (annually)
- the Tom Hoad Cup (annually)
Two sports awards are given each year:
- The Western Australian Sports Star of the Year is an individual award made to a current sportsperson selected by a committee of sports writers from The West Australian and members of the Western Australian Sports Federation, and chaired by Ron Alexander, director-general of the Department of Sport and Recreation. The award has been given since 1956.
- A second award, induction to the Western Australian Hall of Champions has been made since 1983 and honours a number of sportspeople who, as products of the Western Australian sporting system, have achieved the highest level of competition. Recipients must have been retired from open competition for at least five years. The selection committee includes several prominent sports identities and members of the Western Australian Institute of Sport.