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Abbey Holmes move delights AFL fans after Cameron Ling's exit from All-Australian role

The former AFLW player and Channel 7 commentator has been handed a huge role for 2024.

Abbey Holmes has been appointed to take Cameron Ling's vacant spot on the AFL's All-Australian selection committee after the Geelong Cats great stepped down from the role. Ling had been part of the judging panel for the last 11 years, but has decided to walk away from the position.

Holmes, who is a commentator with Channel 7, has been appointed to take Ling's place. The former AFLW player will be the second female judge on the panel - joining the league's Executive General Manager Laura Kane.

Abbey Holmes and Cameron Ling.
Abbey Holmes is replacing Cameron Ling on the AFL's All-Australian selection committee. Image: Getty

The other members on the panel tasked with deciding the 22-man squad are Andrew Dillon (Chair), Eddie Betts, Jude Bolton, Nathan Buckley, Kane Cornes, Glen Jakovich, Matthew Pavlich and Josh Mahoney. The committee is also in charge of selecting the Mark of the Year, Goal of the Year and the Rising Star Award.

"Abbey has enjoyed a decorated playing career and is now in her ninth season as an expert commentator and boundary rider with Channel Seven," AFL boss Dillon said in a statement. "She analyses the game up close on a weekly basis.

"We are delighted to have someone with her level of experience on the panel and her contributions will be incredibly valuable in selecting the best-performed players of the 2024 season. On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank Cameron Ling for his dedication and service as a selector over the past 11 seasons."

Abbey Holmes, pictured here at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023.
Abbey Holmes at the Brownlow Medal ceremony in 2023. (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Sam Edmund of SEN revealed the news about Holmes earlier on Tuesday. He said: “She's a big part of Channel 7's coverage of the game and played at the AFLW level as well, she was a premiership player with the Crows and 2017.

“There had been only one female on the panel up until now that being obviously Laura Kane the boss. So, Abbey Holmes … elevated to the All-Australian selection panel. It's a year-long pursuit and probably the most one of the thankless tasks in footy. That's a no-win job picking the All-Australian team, the best team of the year.”

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Despite the new role, Holmes will continue working with Channel 7 in 2024. AFL fans were delighted to hear of her appointment, sending congratulations on social media.

Eddie McGuire's call for change in regard to AFL awards

Speaking last year amid controversy over Lachie Neale's Brownlow Medal triumph, former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire suggested a "panel of elders" should decided the league's top accolades. "I think we've got enough really great former players who get lost to the game," he said.

"Let's get a few of the others that we haven't seen in a while. People who have gone off and done other businesses and things. Get them there, have five or six of them, invite them to the grand final, sit them down, furnish them with the information they need so they're not just sitting there as someone goes past them with drinks, and do it properly so you get it right."

McGuire's comments came after a storm erupted over Neale's victory. Some suggested the voting should be taken out of the hands of umpires.

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