As the profile of women's sport continues to boom exponentially year-on-year female athletes and competitions are finally, and deservedly, being thrust under the spotlight across the globe - basically, there's never been a better time to be a woman in sport.
Think back to Monday, June 24, when we all woke up to the news Ash Barty had won the French Open overnight while Sally Fitzgibbons landed her world No.1 ranking, Hannah Green won the Women's PGA Championship and Australia's women's eight crew claimed Rowing World Cup gold that day too.
Arguably one of Australia's greatest days in sport, that.
The level of media coverage, support and water-cooler chat those athletes received that day and afterward is testament to just how far women's sport at the elite level and the attitude toward it has come in recent years.
Make no mistake, it's only the naive who would argue it's reached its peak and while men's and women's sports do remain on very different playing fields in a number of different aspects it's certainly a step in the right direction, one that should be followed by many, many more in years to come.
With that comes opportunity, while a competition like the WNBL was well ahead of its time when it was established in 1981 more recently the proof is in the introduction of the W-League in 2008, the WBBL in 2014-15, the AFLW in 2017 and the WNRL in 2018.
While it's been long overdue, Australia is moving in the right direction in terms of professionalising women's sport, for example the Southern Stars became a fully professional outfit in 2016 and the NSW Breakers followed suit that too.
It does remain somewhat bewildering the Wallaroos aren't yet a fully-professional outfit considering the growth of women's rugby, considerably bolstered by the introduction of the Super W in 2018 and the continued expansion of Australia's Test program.
There's moves being made for that be mirrored at the junior level and the likes of Deryck Ward are pushing hard to continue that development, he has a pretty unique insight into just how important bridging the gap between juniors and seniors is.
Ward coaches Orange City's under-13 side, an outfit that boasts no less than half a dozen female players.
Ward's daughter Trixie, along with Lily Bone, Manaia Nixon, Alexa McKinnon-Braid, Ilka Gordon and Maddi Fuller have taken Central West Junior Rugby's under-13 competition by storm.
But they'll age out soon.
While Rugby Australia does have rules in place for special dispensation and size for age and its gender identity policies can probably be considered ahead of their time, at the base level girls aren't allowed to play mixed gender rugby beyond the under-15 age group.
"The girls we have in our side absolutely love playing rugby but they once they hit a certain age they can't, and at that age they might not be quite ready to move into the [Westfund Ferguson Cup], so we do need an all-girls' competition to bridge that gap because we don't want to lose those players," Ward said.
"There's so much more opportunity in women's rugby now and we need to follow suit to keep that pathway in place for these girls, and for new players who might not have played by that age. We've had a few sevens tournaments and some gala days, so we'll keep working hard to try and get that in place (for 2020)."
The growth of women's rugby isn't lost on Trixie Ward, Bone, Nixon or McKinnon-Braid either and while they'd love to see a week-to-week, all-girls' competition be established, for the moment they're quite content to, as Bone put it, "just keep smashing the boys".
"Yeah, we love smashing the boys," Nixon agreed.
"It's proving a point I guess, that it's not just a boys' sport and girls can do it too," Bone added.
"There's been some girls' competitions but not one every week. It's growing, slowly, but it's growing. It's all growing actually, there's an all-girls' competition in rugby league here now.
"But I think I'd rather just keep smashing the boys."
"Yeah, it's so good," Trixie Ward said.
It's proving a point I guess, that it's not just a boys' sport and girls can do it too.Orange City No.8 Lily Bone
"We are used to it now though too I think, we love it though," Nixon said.
Kids enjoying the sport the love - at the end of the day, that's what it should be all about, isn't it?
"Yes," all four answered, when asked if rugby was their favourite sport.
"The contact," they said, once again firing off as a group when asked what their favourite aspect is.
"I love rugby, I grew up watching my brothers play and I was just sitting on the sidelines so I thought 'I really should just start playing'," Trixie Ward said.
"My dad inspired me, and my little brother," Nixon added.
"I have two brothers as well and I just grew up with it really," Bone said.
McKinnon-Braid, who's also an equestrian, sent the quartet into a cascade of giggles when she said she doesn't really know why she started playing the game, but added how much fun it is playing and training with the boys.
"It's really fun, you have a laugh with the guys together at training too," she said.
"I love the running in the game too, and the fact you can go wherever you want on the field and play different positions. You know, in netball you can only go in certain spots on the court depending on your position," Nixon said.
The quartet spoke to the Central Western Daily after their 38-10 win over cross-city rivals Emus a couple of weeks ago, with Nixon arriving at half-time after playing netball to help her side over the line.
It was a game in which Bone produced a best-on-ground performance, she was monstrous from No.8.
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There's no surprise to hear the Hamilton name spruiked when the discussion inevitably rolls around to who the young Lions idolise, during her career she's largely worked full-time, studied full-time and played for her country at the same time so she's one of the great role models.
"Yeah, it's Grace, I'd love to [follow in her footsteps]," Ward said.
"We're family friends with the Hamiltons as well so it's pretty cool, I went down to the Sydney Test to watch them play Japan not long ago."
"I think, probably Ruan Sims for me," Ward said, Sims being a dual-international who now focuses on rugby league.
"She mainly plays rugby league now but she did play rugby and played at [the 2010 World Cup]. I'd love to be able to play like her."
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