The Sport Australia Hall of Fame presented the Matildas with The Don Award, one of the highest Australian sport honours awarded to an athlete or team.
The Don Award, named in recognition of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s inaugural Inductee, Sir Donald Bradman AC, and introduced in 1998, honours an athlete or a team for providing the most inspiration to the nation through performance and example in the past year.
The Matildas earned The Don Award after they became the first Australian team to make a senior FIFA World Cup – men’s or women’s – semi-final. The Matildas changed the landscape for women’s football by bringing the country together and inspiring the next generation of hopefuls, encouraging junior players to reach the national stage like Sam Kerr, Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, Mackenzie Arnold, Mary Fowler or Cortnee Vine who all became instantly recognisable.
The latter a household name as she stepped up to convert the decisive penalty against France to book the Matildas a semi-final match against England. That was also the longest shoot-out in FIFA World Cup history, men’s or women’s.
The Matildas’ FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 tournament saw extraordinary crowds to their games with nearly two million spectators at stadiums and hundreds of thousands at live sites across the country. Their semi-final against England achieved the highest TV ratings in Australia since the current television ratings system began in 2001.
Despite losing 3-1 in the semi-final and then going down 2-0 to Sweden in the bronze medal match, the Matildas did Australia proud with many memorable moments created.
The Matildas are proud to create a legacy from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which they now want to continue for future generations.