'It's disgusting': Female players targeted in AFL 'sexism' controversy

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The AFL’s social media department has been praised for calling out a raft of ‘unwarranted vitriol’ during the Gold Coast Suns’ clash with GWS in the AFLW.

Greater Western Sydney rained on Gold Coast's AFLW arrival parade on Saturday, rewriting the record books in a historic low-scoring, one-point win.

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In weather more reminiscent of the middle of winter, the Giants slogged out a 1.3 (9) to 1.2 (8) victory in the Suns' maiden AFLW match at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney.

That aggregate scoreline - although heavily influenced by torrential rain - eclipsed the previous lowest-scoring AFLW contest when Adelaide defeated Carlton 2.5 (17) to 2.2 (14) in 2017.

The Suns huddle after their loss to Greater Western Sydney Giants. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

It was also lower than the AFL/VFL mark set in 1897 at Lake Oval where Essendon and Melbourne collectively kicked 1.16 (22 points) as the Bombers claimed a one-goal win.

The 9-8 scoreline sparked some horrible backlash from trolls on social media, prompting the AFL’s social media department to take action.

“The men’s league isn’t subject to such a volume of unwarranted vitriol purely for its existence,” the AFL’s official account wrote on Facebook.

“We will always support AFLW across our social media platforms.”

Some fans described the hate directed at the women’s game as ‘disgusting’.

GWS coach defends low-scoring game

Giants coach Alan McConnell was far more interested in smashing another AFLW statistic, finally breaking through for their first opening-round win on the fourth attempt.

"It's good to get a result in round one which is new for us," he said.

"The girls have afforded me a lot of firsts in my last couple of years. One of them being today, winning the game kicking one goal.

"It's not ideal, but we'll take it."

Forecasters had tipped 120-200mm of rain to hit Rooty Hill on Saturday, but 1540 spectators still turned out to witness an almighty arm wrestle.

The Suns' banner didn't cope well with the wet and windy conditions, with its inspirational words breaking up before the side could even run through it.

Jasmine Hewett of the Suns runs with the ball against Greater Western Sydney Giants. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

But it wasn't a bad omen for Gold Coast - one of four newcomers this season to the competition - as they drew first blood through former Giant Britt Perry.

Led by gun onballer Alyce Parker (22 disposals) and new captain Alicia Eva (16), the Giants gained midfield ascendancy and pushed the ball forward to key targets Cora Staunton and Bec Privitelli.

But they couldn't convert their territorial dominance, with the Suns making the most of minimal forward entries to score from three of their five inside 50s before halftime.

Giants forward Aimee Schmidt, a local groundskeeper outside of footy, spurned a golden chance to level the scores midway through the third quarter.

She quickly made amends, though, taking a strong mark and kicking truly to give GWS a well-earned lead.

The final quarter turned into a slog as fatigue set in and the Suns pressed for a match-winner in driving rain.

But GWS were able to hold them out, denying the visitors a dream start to life in the AFLW.


* AFLW (31 points): Adelaide d Carlton 2.5 (17) to 2.2 (14) at Thebarton Oval, round 3, 2017

* AFL/VFL (22 points): Essendon 1.8 (16) d Melbourne 0.8 (8) at Lake Oval, semi-final, 1897