'What a moment': AFL fans erupt over Ash Barty's grand final act

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Ash Barty, pictured here presenting the cup to Richmond captain Trent Cotchin.
Ash Barty got the present the cup to her beloved Richmond. Image: Getty

AFL fans flocked to social media in awe on Saturday night after Ash Barty got to present the premiership cup to Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and coach Damien Hardwick.

Richmond proved too good for Geelong in the AFL grand final at the Gabba, running away to win by 31 points.

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And there were epic scenes during the trophy presentation when Australia’s World No.1 tennis star Barty got to present her beloved Richmond with the cup.

In a move that divided fans and commentators this week, Richmond chose No.1 ticket holder Barty as their cup-presenter of choice - a role normally handed to a club legend or past player.

However the majority of fans were overjoyed to see Barty on the big stage, flocking to social media to comment on the moment.

However there were still some who felt it wasn’t a good look.

Brendan Fevola critical of Ash Barty call

Carlton great Brendan Fevola was among those to criticise Richmond’s decision to hand the honour to Barty.

“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.”

Ash Barty and Ian Nankervis, pictured here before the AFL grand final.
Ash Barty and Ian Nankervis hold the cup aloft before the AFL grand final. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Barty was in attendance for all of Richmond’s matches throughout the finals, having skipped the recent French and US Opens due to the coronavirus crisis.

“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.

“I wish the boys all the best for Saturday and very much hope I have the chance to be out there when the siren goes celebrating another Richmond premiership.

“I am a long-time fan of the Tigers and so proud to be associated with the Club. I trained at the Club for several years with a lot of the boys and have loved watching the Tigers on my travels, supporting them has been a constant source of enjoyment for me on the road.

“I have a huge admiration and respect for the Club on and off the field, what they have achieved over the last decade is incredible.”

Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said that the Tigers were delighted with their choice.

“We are so proud to call Ash one of our own and of all the incredible things she has achieved in her life,” Gale said.

“Not only has Ash always supported us, but she is also someone that displays the values that embody our Club.

“If we are fortunate enough to be able to see Ash present the Premiership Cup on Saturday night, she will be representing all of our wonderful members, supporters and the entire Tiger Army.”

with AAP

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