Daisy Pearce at centre of AFL drama over roles at Geelong and Channel 7

The women's footy champion was reportedly banned from Richmond's change-rooms in the opening round.

Daisy Pearce, pictured here during Geelong's clash with Collingwood in the opening round of the AFL season.
Daisy Pearce during Geelong's clash with Collingwood in the opening round of the AFL season. Image: Getty

Daisy Pearce's dual roles at Channel 7 and Geelong have reportedly sparked concerns amongst rival AFL clubs. The women's footy champion is working as an assistant coach for the Geelong men's team this year after retiring from AFLW in January.

However she is still working as a commentator and sideline reporter for Channel 7, leading to an awkward situation during the opening round last weekend. According to the Herald Sun, Richmond barred Pearce from entering the change-rooms after their draw with Carlton last Thursday night.

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Channel 7 are usually afforded access to the team rooms after matches to conduct post-game interviews. However Richmond took exception to Pearce's presence due to her role with arch-rivals Geelong and didn't allow her in.

Reports state that Richmond didn't have anything against Pearce at a personal level, but never allow access to their rooms to anyone from an opposing club. Carlton had no such qualms with Pearce, but a number of other clubs have reportedly expressed similar concerns.

Pearce has moved from Friday night footy to Thursday nights this year due to her commitments with Geelong. Matthew Richardon is now calling Friday night matches alongside Brian Taylor, James Brayshaw and Luke Hodge, while former AFLW player Abbey Holmes is expected to take up the sideline role on Friday nights.

Daisy Pearce, pictured here during Geelong's clash with Collingwood.
Daisy Pearce looks on during Geelong's clash with Collingwood. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Pearce was at the centre of controversy last year when she replaced Wayne Carey on special comments in the prominent Friday night role. AFL icons Rex Hunt and Dermott Brereton both claimed that Carey was the superior analyst between the two, with Hawthorn great Brereton denying his opinion had anything to do with their genders. He wrote on social media: "Gender quotas aside, side-by-side against Daisy for football analysis, Wayne is by far the better analyst."

Channel 7 opted not to renew Carey's contract for the 2023 season. He was bumped to Saturday nights when Pearce took the Friday night role, a move that iconic former player and commentator Hunt couldn't fathom.

"Wayne Carey to my mind is the best qualified comments man alongside Lethal (Leigh Matthews)," Hunt wrote on Facebook. "And Daisy… just let Carey say a few words... please. If I had one bloke to play for my life... The 'Duck' (Carey) is him. I want Carey to talk about that rough brave play.”

Abbey Gelmi, Hamish McLachlan, Abbey Holmes, Daisy Pearce and Brian Taylor, pictured here at the 2022 Logie Awards.
Channel 7 AFL presenters Abbey Gelmi, Hamish McLachlan, Abbey Holmes, Daisy Pearce and Brian Taylor at the 2022 Logie Awards. (Photo by Sam Tabone/WireImage)

Daisy Pearce hits back amid commentary controversy

Pearce responded to the furore at the time, despite admitting she didn't want to "give it any oxygen". She said on SEN radio: "I get this sense of almost responsibility because other women and non-binary people who aspire to be in the industry, or are already in the industry, or just love footy and want to connect with footy, that they’re disheartened by it and offended by it.

“So whilst I’m not, because I’ve done this for 20 years, either through trying to play footy or now working in the media, having your credibility questioned because you’re female isn’t a new thing that I’m just starting to deal with. I’m pretty thick-skinned when it comes to that.

“I can find on Twitter at Joe Blow 69 thinks that I’ve got no clue because I’m a female and never played men’s footy. I guess this is a little bit different and unusual in my opinion because another member of the AFL media fraternity - both current in Derm and past in Rex - have gone out of their way to give an opinion on who their favourite is. So that’s different.”

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