16/03/2015 - 16:26

Warriors hit economic blues for six

16/03/2015 - 16:26


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Is it any wonder the sound of leather on willow brings us such joy?

Warriors hit economic blues for six

A GOLDEN summer of sport is drawing to a close for Western Australia, with the state’s top teams providing a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy period, particularly in terms of economic performance.

And it seems summer 2014-15 is not a historical anomaly, with research undertaken by Business News finding that on-field performance has been best during the past quarter century at times when doom and gloom have dominated economic news.

In a reminder that correlation doesn’t always imply causation, the Business News WA Sports Index charts the state’s teams performance in the six major summer competitions, showing that the teams perform better in years when unemployment is higher.

It is WA’s cricket teams that are putting runs on the board at the moment, with the Western Warriors second behind Victoria in the Bupa Sheffield Shield competition ahead of the last round.

The Warriors face the NSW Blues, currently third and also in the running, to host a home final in the four-day version of the game, after earlier success in the shorter form this season.

In October, the Warriors won the Matador Cup 50-over competition, while earlier this year the Perth Scorchers topped the KFC Big Bash Twenty20.

In the Australian Baseball League, the Perth Heat claimed the title for the second year running, while in, the Perth Wildcats finished fourth in the National Basketball League.

The Perth Glory has also performed well, leading soccer’s A-League at the time of writing.

The index (calculated by a formula based on team rankings) covers cricket, basketball, soccer and the recently reformed baseball competition, showing the state has hit a sweet spot unmatched since 2000, when WA won the domestic 50 over cricket competition, the Mercantile Mutual Cup.

Unemployment began to tick upwards soon after, with technology stocks tanking overseas and then the introduction of the GST creating uncertainty in the business community.

The 2000 domestic one-day competition victory followed back-to-back Sheffield Shield wins, in 1998 and 1999.

The Warriors also shone in the ‘recession we had to have’ of the early 1990s, winning both the one-day domestic league, then known as the FAI Cup, and Sheffield Shield successively.

The Wildcats have also been a long-term performer in the NBL, with three wins in the early 1990s when the sport was at its most popular.

It was a long time between drinks for those fans who remained, however, waiting until 2009 for another victory.

This year, the Wildcats made the semi-finals but were beaten by Cairns.

The Glory will be seeking to match the success of 2004, when the club secured the second of its back-to-back grand final wins in the then National Soccer League.

It was more or less downhill from there for WA sports fans, however, as the state turned its attention to dramatically increasing iron ore prices and the decade-long mining boom.

Winter sports also provided highlights, with the West Coast Eagles making back-to-back AFL grand finals, both against Sydney, in 2005 and 2006, winning the latter by a point.

But it was not until the state was recovering from the shock of the GFC that there was a return to summer form, led by the Wildcats.

With the exception of baseball, part two of the mining boom was also a dry spell in the sporting arena, with the formerly Atlas Iron-sponsored Perth Scorchers making the Big Bash Twenty 20 Grand Final twice (2012, 2013) before an eventual victory in 2014.

Off field, economic success has brought substantial benefit to the state’s sporting teams, with a new Perth Arena for the Wildcats, an $80 million refurbishment of Glory home ground nib stadium, and a new $1 billion stadium complex under construction on the Burswood Peninsula.



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