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Sam Kerr’s Matildas win Australia’s top sports honour

Australia’s women’s football team won the country’s highest sporting honour on Friday for causing a “seismic shift” in the national game with their World Cup exploits.

The Sam Kerr-led Matildas captivated the country in their run to the semi-finals of the tournament on home soil this year, before being beaten by England.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, which hands out the Don Award, said what the team achieved was “groundbreaking”. It was the furthest any Australian team had gone at a football World Cup. 

“The Matildas caused a seismic sporting shift: transforming women’s football, uniting the country, inspiring the next generation of hopefuls and further elevating women’s sport with a long-deserved national profile,” it said.

They beat out the men’s cricket team, who won the World Test Championship, retained the Ashes and lifted the one-day World Cup last month.

The Matildas are only the third team to win the accolade — named after legendary Australian cricketer Don Bradman — since its inception in 1998.

The Australian women’s cricket team in 2020 and the men’s football team in 2006 were the others.

Last year’s Don Award went to now-retired tennis great Ashleigh Barty.

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