Seven Consulting & The CommBank Matildas

Thanks to the Matildas for six wonderful years from Seven.

When the idea first sparked in my mind to have our company, Seven Consulting be the first dedicated sponsor of the Matildas, little did I know that it would lead to a wonderful six-year journey, culminating earlier this year in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Back in 2017, I read about the Matildas’ victories in beating the USA, Brazil and Japan in the USA. I learned these world class athletes earned $35,000-$45,000 annually at the time, and that the team had zero dedicated sponsors. When I spoke to my two sons that night, one of them was able to fill in a lot more details and a broader conversation started.

Determined to understand the team further, my sons and I trooped off to see Matildas v Brazil in Penrith. A full house provided a great atmosphere, and I vividly remember the initial goal which I hastily dismissed as a “miskick” just before halftime. Ten seconds later, I was corrected by the large screen replay. A centimetre perfectly instinctive and amazing volley from Lisa De Vanna from 20m was the corrected assessment. And Sam Kerr scored as well in a 2-1 win, followed by a similar 3-2 win over Brazil again a few days later in Newcastle. I was won over by the skills, effort and connection between the team and the fans.

With my passion ignited, I took the idea of becoming the Matildas’ first dedicated sponsor to our Seven Consulting staff. Despite the potential impact on staff profit share, an overwhelming 91% of staff voted in favour of us being their first dedicated sponsors. A month later, the contract was signed and we appeared on these amazing women’s sleeves.

What followed was six years of highlights of which I can only mention a few.

Sam Kerr scoring a wondergoal against China in 2017 with the goalkeeper landing neatly on our virtual billboard. Seeing the Matildas play in the 2018 Asian Cup in Jordan was memorable with strong early group results nearly reversed by a lucky semi-final win over a plucky Thailand team after extra time and penalties. Then there was a reverse performance and outcome with an unlucky defeat to Japan in the Asian Cup final.

In 2019, after an initial defeat against Italy in our first World Cup game in France and going down 2-0 against Brazil, I saw the most amazing 3-2 comeback in that game. This thrilling match had the largest physical impact a sporting game has ever had on me. I could barely talk afterwards for hours. That turnaround kept us in the World Cup tournament.

Other highlights include: Sam’s four goals against Jamacia; Caitlin’s three goals against Chile; Emily tearing it up for the Olympics qualifiers; virtual watch parties during Covid for the Olympics with ex-Matildas giving us the insights; Lisa De Vanna in our office talking to clients; and staff with some of the irreverent and funniest stories I’ve ever heard; six Matildas looking after about 40 of our client and staff kids in a training session; ex-Matildas playing with clients and staff at women’s’ footy tournaments; getting to meet some of the legends of the game, like Julie Dolan, Moya Dodd and Heather Garriock  and a full house in Perth to see an 8-0 win against World Cup qualifiers the Philippines.

A personal highlight for me was getting to know the player familes by them around the games, having a few drinks and occasional round of golf with them, as well as hearing of the sacrifices made and joy gained in each of the families. In those days the crowds were decent at home but the traveling support away from home was in the dozens and 90% family members.

We also recognise some of the support work done by the team managers, doctors, pioneers, family members and historians of the game in our video series as Matildas unsung heroes were the Matildas talk about who were their pillars in the less glamorous times.

Click here to watch UNSUNG HEROES.

We were also lucky to have a series of Matildas work with us as Interns or in other positions. Tameka Yallop, Elise Kellond Knight, Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon all got work experience and/or training at Seven Consulting. Tameka Yallop and Elise Kellond Knight are still working with us today and are now fully trained PMO Consultants. Each interaction gave us more and more respect for this squad as professionals and as people.

A key global milestone over these six years was the work done by Football Australia and the player unions and to create the pay parity deal with Matildas and the Socceroos led by one of our interns, Elise Kellond-Knight.

Another lifetime memory will forever be the amazing scenes when Australia and New Zealand won the 2023 FIFA World Cup hosting rights. I stayed up late that Thursday night and proudly wore my Matildas shirt to meetings the following morning.

When the Women’s World Cup kicked off and the Matildas had their first warm-up match it was a 50,000-person sellout stadium in a proud Aussie Rules town, Melbourne – that was a sign that our world was changing for the better.

The CommBank Matildas then doubled that crowd in Sydney a week later and then topped the crowds against Denmark and England. Viewing figures on television for any male or female sport have been smashed, toppling the Men’s AFL Grand Final, NRL Grand Final, State of Origin.

If the semi final loss to England felt like the end that night, it’s because it is the end of seeing women’s sport as second class citizens in Australia. If it feels like the start, it’s because it is the start of a new generation of girls and boys that inspired by our heroes, the Matildas fans will become the Matildas and Socceroos and Pararoos of the future. I am certain that in 12 years, we will have another golden generation inspired by this team. But before that the sucessful Olympic qualifiers in Perth and later in Uzbekistan and then hopefully another chance of a medal in the Olympics in Paris next year. The journey continues, indeed it never stops.

The Matildas are now truly Australia’s team and the equal pay deal now looks to be favoring the Socceroos!

I am able to reflect how far the team has come in the short time we have sponsored and known them. Thanks to running into Phil Kellond-Knight, Elise Kellond-Knight’s Dad during the World Cup in Brisbane, he sent me a shot that I’ve included of the supporters and the two of us alongside each other at the first Matildas Semi Final I was at. It was the 2018 AFC Asian Cup Semi Final in Jordan and where we went through against Thailand on penalties in an absolute nailbiter. With tickets from the FA, I had travelled on personal expense and had the most wonderful time meeting family and friends of the players like the Kerrs, Foord’s, Lorgazo’s, Van Egmonds and Kellond-Knights. Times have changed and will continue to change for the better.

There now is maybe 2,000 people in the stadiums and 10,000’s more watching on televisions and online for every single individual Australian supporter there that day in Amman and things will never be the same again for women’s sport in Australia.

This group of players, many of which I have had the pleasure of knowing for six years, deserve their moment and I know will work hard for many more, for themselves their families and their supporters. I hope their dreams and the dreams of all of them continue to come true. Well done to Football Australia , especially Chris Nikou, James Johnson, David Gallop (for initiating), Mark Falvo, Sarah Walsh and Jane Fernandez and their teams for getting this amazing event to happen. This success takes many parents, and they should all be proud.

When we signed, we said that we hoped we would be replaced by a major corporate one day because that would be testament to how the game would have grown so much, and that too will come to pass. As we proudly move our sponsorship to Tess Madgen and wonderful world number 3 ranked Seven Consulting Opals, we have enjoyed and are honored to be a small part of the Matildas’ journey. Many staff quote it as one of the reasons they joined Seven Consulting, and we have always received a very strong positive reaction from our client base.

We are looking forward to more wonderful moments with Seven Consulting Opals and enjoying the Matildas still from a little bit further away, but not too far. 🙂

Thanks to all the support of our clients and staff that allowed Seven Consulting in turn to support our team. But thanks most of all to those fabulous, never say die, hard working, talented, down to earth and country inspiring Matildas.

Declan Boylan

Seven Consulting Founder

Seven Consulting Internship

We actively contributed to players’ professional growth, offering internships to stars like Lydia Williams, Elise Kellond-Knight, and Tamika Yallop, promoting success on and off the field, with both Tamika Yallop and Elise Kellond-Knight continuing to work with Seven Consulting, helping support our clients to this day. Together, we symbolise teamwork, determination, and national pride, aligning seamlessly with the CommBank Matildas’ values.

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Intern – Tameka Yallop

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Intern – Elise Kellond-Knight

Highlights from our Matildas Sponsorship Journey

Did you know?

Facts about the Commonwealth Bank Matildas

  • The CommBank Matildas are now ranked 11th in the world and were finalists in the Asian Cup.
  • The CommBank Matildas just won the Tournament of Nations in the USA, beating Japan, Brazil and the World No. 1, USA.
  • Sam Kerr has just been announced as the Women’s Health Australian Sports Woman of the Year and Female Player of the Year in National Women’s Soccer League (USA).
  • Star Matildas, Tameka Yallop and Elise Kellond-Knight have joined Seven Consulting as paid interns.
  • The FIFA World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 set a new World Cup attendance record. Almost two million fans attended the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand – up by more than 600,000 on the previous record.
  • The Matilda’s were the first Australian team to make a World Cup semi-final, finishing in 4th place overall.