AFL legend Brendan Fevola has weighed-in on the debate and blasted the decision to allow WTA World No.1 Ash Barty present the Grand Final trophy to Richmond if they win.
Queensland local Barty - who is Richmond's inaugural AFLW member - has been a constant presence in the crowd at the Tigers’ two finals this month at Metricon Stadium and the Gabba.
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On Tuesday, it was announced Barty would present the premiership cup to Richmond if her beloved Tigers win the AFL grand final on Saturday.
The decision divided fans and Carlton legend Fevola blasted the decision and said a former club great should have been granted the honour.
“I just don’t think it’s football. She’s a supporter, she was in the grandstand about 150 rows back last week with a pot going ‘yes’,” he said on his breakfast show Fox FM.
“I love Ash Barty. She’s a supporter, she’s like a cheer squad member. But should she be giving away the premiership cup to the premiership captain and coach? I don’t think so. I think it should be a past player, she has nothing to do with the Richmond Football Club apart from being a supporter.
“We’re not going to see Trent Cotchin hand her the Australian Open at Melbourne Park come January. They would never do that the tennis association.”
Fevola, who kicked a whopping 623 goals in 204 AFL games, is a fan of Barty.
However, he claimed it was the huge publicity around her recent appearances drinking a beer at the Tigers game that propelled her to this honour.
“I love Ash Barty, she’s brilliant and a great person - If she wasn‘t at the footy when they played Brisbane in the first final drinking a pot of beer and cheering when Daniel Rioli kicked a goal, she wouldn’t be giving the cup away today,” he added.
“She got so much publicity. The next match on the Gold Coast they got her a Richmond jumper with Barty on it, we’ll get on the coattails of this.
“I know what they‘re trying to do, they’re trying to look good. Virtue signalling, that’s the one.”
Barty honoured to be granted AFL final role
Following the announcement, Barty said she was honoured to have been afforded the opportunity if Richmond win.
“I was surprised and very honoured when (Richmond president) Peggy (O'Neal) asked me to present the cup,” Barty said on Tuesday.
“I know there are many other Richmond people who would normally do this but given the circumstances I am very grateful for the opportunity.
If the Tigers win their third flag in four years, she will follow Matthew Richardson (2017) and Maureen Hafey (2019) in presenting the cup to coach Damien Hardwick and captain Trent Cotchin.
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