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What is Australia’s National Sport? Fans have their say

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Last Updated on 9 months by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: What is Australia’s National Sport? Fans have their say | Is cricket Australia’s national sport?

Australia loves its sport. Roaring stadiums, online debates and intense discussions at pubs are synonymous with the country, with sport capturing the attention of millions all year round.

The Matildas’ terrific 2023 World Cup campaign has ignited the debate in Australia: what is the country’s national sport?

Over 11 million Australians tuned into the Matildas’ World Cup semi-final against England, setting a record for the most viewed television program in Australia since records began in 2001. The fanfare around the nation, following on from similar scenes for the Socceroos during the 2022 men’s World Cup, has seen calls grow louder that football/soccer is Australia’s national sport.

Football’s participation numbers at junior levels is the best of any sport. However, Australia has been mighty successful in cricket, with the sport played far and wide. The Australian Football League (AFL) creates buzz in a number of states, especially Victoria, with strong crowds, the biggest TV deal, club memberships and more.

But, what do the fans believe? Betting agency TAB launched a fan poll named The Great Sport Debate, inviting Australians to have their say.

Fans vote on Australia’s National Sport

The poll finished with 16,334 votes. AFL came out on top with 33.7% of the votes (5,509), followed by cricket with 21.4% (3,493). Soccer (i.e. football) came in at third at 18.3% (2,994), followed by rugby league at 16.9% (2,765) rounding out the top four.

Cricket News: What is Australia's National Sport? Fans have their say | Is cricket Australia's national sport?

TAB also had a question on who Australia’s best national team is. The Australian men’s and women’s cricket teams, with multiple World Cups between them, finished top with 31% of the votes (5,056). Matildas came in second at 22.1% (3,612), followed by the Kangaroos rugby league team.

Former Australia fast bowler and current commentator Brendan Julian went in to bat for cricket. During The Great Sports Debate TV program, Julian said, “We’ve got the Melbourne Cricket Ground, we have the Sydney Cricket Ground, we have the Gabba, we’ve got the WACA. Every major sporting ground is named after cricket.”

“Cricket is played nationally around the country,” he continued. Then speaking to AFL legend Barry Johnson, Julian asked “do you know why AFL was invented? It was to keep the cricketers fit in winter!”

“Football is all about World Cups. We can’t bag netball because I have two daughters. Rugby league, they don’t even play it in Perth and Adelaide,” he said.

Talking about Australia’s women’s team, Julian said, “The women’s team would probably be the best sporting team in the country in the past 20 years. They’ve won seven World Cups, six T20 world titles. The 2020 final at the MCG? 92,000 people.”

Watch: The Great Sports Debate

Cricket News: What is Australia's National Sport? Fans have their say | Is cricket Australia's national sport?

Fans also take to Twitter to discuss Australia’s national sport

We at CricBlog love our cricket. We think it’s Australia’s national sport. What are your views? Be sure to leave a comment or tweet us @cric_blog.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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