Fifteen women are about to take the first step in progressing their dream of a career in sports broadcasting, thanks to a ground-breaking program from the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas, today announced that Woodend local Cheryl Downes had been successful in her application.

Successful applicants will take part in the second round of the Change Our Game Making the Call pilot program, starting at the end of this month.

The first of its kind, the program was created to address the lack of gender diversity in sports broadcasting. It is designed to provide women who are interested in sports broadcasting with the opportunity to further their skills and develop industry connections.

The first round of the program was delivered in November 2020 and many of the graduates have moved into a range of industry roles across a variety of sports.

Brihony Dawson was a participant in the first round. In a few short months, she succeeded in taking on a number of industry roles, including co-host of the AFLW Grand Final TV show on Channel 31, co-host of All in, an online TV show focused on women’s sport, and will be ground announcer at this week’s AFLW Grand Final in Adelaide.

Facilitated by co-creators of the award-winning Outer Sanctum podcast and radio show, Emma and Lucy Race, participants are given tips and advice as well as the opportunity to access broadcasting mentors.

Industry experts guiding participants along the way include cricket commentator Mel Jones, TV executive Dave Barham and sports journalists and broadcasters Kelli Underwood, Andy Maher, Daisy Pearce and Megan Hustwaite.

This program is part of the Government’s $7.2 million Change Our Game initiative aimed at levelling the playing field for women and girls in sport and recreation.

For more information about the Change Our Game Making The Call program visit

Quote attributable to Acting Premier James Merlino

“All-women sporting teams are participating at the highest level of some of our national competitions, and it’s time we see more women in the commentary boxes.”

Quote attributable to Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas MP

“It’s fantastic to see Victorian women like Cheryl pursuing a career in sports broadcasting, and I’m eager to see what she achieves behind the mic.”

Quote attributable to successful Making the Call Applicant Cheryl Downes

“I’m extremely excited and proud to be selected for the Change our Game: Making the Call Program. My goal is to contribute to the positive visibility of women in sport, and through this program, I hope to further develop my skills to enable this.”