Australia: Sportsmanship and charity the big winners in the 2017 Winneke Cup Festival of the Ball
Last Updated: 31 August 2017

Australia's leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has proudly hosted the 2017 Winneke Cup which, for the first time in the illustrious history of this important sporting event, saw a women's Australian Rules football game featured as one of the sports played.

The Cup, an inter law firm sporting 'festival' held annually in Melbourne since the early 1990s, honours John Winneke, former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria and President of the Victorian Court of Appeal. This year's competition took place on Sunday 27 August at the Albert Park Sports Precinct in Melbourne.

The Winneke Cup usually features women's netball and men's Australian Rules football competitions, however in a break in tradition and in recognition of its surging popularity, women's Australian Rules football made its first appearance. Hosts and organisers of this year's event, Corrs, came up with the concept to trial women's football at the Cup.

"Corrs was very keen to organise and run the first women's Australian Rules game at the Winneke Cup, and we're confident the success of the exhibition match means it could become a regular feature of this event," said one of the organisers, Corrs' Georgia Westbrook.

While lawyers are naturally competitive, "it was great we could come together for a day of sport and were able to raise money for not-for-profit organisation, Ladder," she said.

Finely tuned female athletes from Corrs, Lander & Rogers, Clayton Utz, Ashurst, Allens and K&L formed an All Stars team to take on Maddocks in the women's football game. A total of 42 women footballers battled throughout the contest which finally saw Maddocks take the win.

Eleven firms - Allens, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Corrs, Gadens, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, K&L Gates, Lander & Rogers, Maddocks and Minter Ellison – competed in the women's netball in which K&L Gates emerged victorious for the second year in a row.

Ashurst could not enjoy a repeat of its triumph in the 2016 men's Australian Rules competition, with Minter Ellison claiming the prize from Allens, Clayton Utz, Corrs, Gadens, Herbert Smith Freehills, Gilbert & Tobin, Lander & Rogers, Maddocks and Ashurst.

While there was intense competition between the law firms involved, the Winneke Cup also has the altruistic goal of raising important funds for charity. This year the event again partnered with Ladder, a not-for-profit organisation that works closely with the AFL to tackle youth homelessness in Australia.

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