Sydney Swans defend all female training team


The AFL’s Sydney Swans unintentionally made history with the first recognised all-female training crew this year, sparking criticism from fans online.

The crew, who provide players with musculoskeletal treatments and first-aid include Katherine Tapscott, Nicole Gunzburg, Lana Karam, Helena Setio and Maggie Parsons.

Despite the club saying it had purely hired the most qualified applicants, the Swan’s social media platforms have been bombarded with ill-founded opinion that the ladies were hired only because of their gender.

Swan’s medical service coordinator Katherine Tapscott said recruiters choose the best regardless of gender.

“I chose this team because they had the fitness to run around the field giving waters to players,” Katherine says.

“They had a good attitude, the qualifications and fit in well with the club,”

“This [recognition] is creating opportunities by closing the gender gap and inspiring other women to apply but we are not hiring crew just because they’re female.”

Sports trainer Nicole Gunzburg has been a part of the Swan’s training crew since 2019.

“I’ve been working with the Swans for three seasons now,” Ms Gunzburg says.

“This is the first time it has been an all-female group and I feel honoured and valued to have been a part of that history made.”

“I’ve been lucky with my experience in this male-dominant field and respect that the Swans have trust in us.”

The comments posted online were at times offensive.

One comment read: “Makes sense why Buddy [Franklin] went down injured again, was probably asking for several rubs.” and another said: Only female, no male equals diversity?” 

Katherine says the recognition they received reflects the Sydney Swans culture, reassuring that the all-female crew was unintentional and that they give equal opportunities.

“I’d like [the crew] to be diverse otherwise we’d be doing a full 180 which wouldn’t be fair,” Katherine says.

“We’ve come a long way but it’s disappointing to read these comments there’s clearly a long way to go.”