As years go, 2017 wasn’t a bad one for cricketer Ellyse Perry. She scored a record-breaking, history-making double century in the comp for the Women’s Ashes (which Oz retained – yew!), and was crowned ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year with the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award.
But speaking to Perry, a Priceline Sister, it’s clear this girl is all about the team first and foremost, whether she’s playing for her country, state (NSW) or in the Women’s Big Bash League with the Sydney Sixers.
We sat down with the nation's golden girl (who has repped the country in cricket and soccer, eventually going full-time with the bat ‘n ball) to talk about the female-sport revolution, keeping nerves in check and the Aussie legend who left her star-struck.
What was your 2017 highlight?
Just the whole year in terms of what happened to women in sport across the board, and the incredible development. I think 2017 was the biggest year for women in sport yet. Oh, and the Ashes series was quite special! Playing in Australia on our home soil, and the amount of people that tuned into our matches – it broke all kinds of records for the sport (Ed’s note: 12,674 attended the first-ever women’s day-night test at North Sydney Oval, while 200,000 tuned in live online!). And then to have success and return the Ashes was great.
What are the most memorable matches?
The ones where you have some wonderful team success. So a couple of the World Cup finals that I’ve played in and we’ve won, and also big Ashes series that we’ve won, are really the standouts. I think you always remember those moments, when you win the match and it’s quite euphoric. You’re celebrating with everyone in the team, the players and support staff… it’s this unbelievable sensation and experience.
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How do you handle pressure and nerves?
I’m pretty low-key and quite a quiet person, not someone who needs to get really pumped up. I like to write stuff down – my thoughts or goals for a match, or the key things that I need to do well. And then I just sit and chill and maybe listen to some music. The reason we play elite sport is for the challenge and the really important moments and testing yourself in that environment, so I guess you kind of look forward to it as well. I sort of like the pressure.
What are your childhood sport memories?
I think my childhood was very similar to a lot of Aussie kids. I played a lot in the backyard with my family, and did all kinds of things, whether that was cricket, soccer, tennis, rugby… I had a go at everything. When I went to primary school, a lot of my friends were boys and they started joining their local clubs to play sport, and I just followed suit. I’ve been very fortunate to have wonderfully supportive parents who were keen to take my brother and I around to anywhere we wanted to play. Most of my fondest memories of playing sport are from when I was a kid.
How do you see the future of women in sport?
The sky’s the limit at the moment. There’s an incredible amount of investment and interest in growing sport, from organisations like Cricket Australia, FFA, AFL – all those major codes have really recognised the importance of women’s involvement in sport. And then you look at the influences from great companies like Priceline, who are really keen to partner with those organisations to make sure girls get more opportunities to play. With that kind of investment and care, plus a growing interest from the public and media in the way sport’s covered… There are so many great opportunities and possibilities for women in sport going forward.
Who inspires you?
I loved watching Susie O’Neill swim when I was growing up. I think she’s really incredible and just an ambassador for women in general. I love the way that she competed – she’s incredibly talented but also really gritty and determined and always stayed level-headed. It was a huge dream when I got to meet her the Women’s Health Women in Sport Awards – I was really star-struck, but she’s so down-to-earth. I’m also inspired by my mum. She’s one of my greatest confidantes.
How do you spend your downtime?
I always love being outside, so whether that’s going for a walk or to the beach or catching up with friends, I always try to base it around being outdoors. I spend time with family and friends, and also visit cafes – it’s sort of a hobby of mine! It’s really nice to be around home, when you travel so much for your career.
How do you exercise aside from training?
I really enjoy going for a run. I go to the gym quite a lot, and if I’m with friends, [we’ll] kick the football down at the park. I haven’t played a lot of soccer lately, just because with the development in women’s sport, cricket is like a full-time profession now. But I still very much enjoy kicking a soccer ball around.
Finally, tell us something surprising about you.
I like parking cars! I always enjoy when we’re on tour and get those eight-seater vans. I normally drive and it’s quite fun trying to fit them into tight spaces.