Daisy Pearce to leave Friday night footy role after Wayne Carey furore

The AFLW great is taking up two new roles this year in the wake of the ugly AFL furore in 2022.

Daisy Pearce and Wayne Carey, pictured here in 2022.
Daisy Pearce replaced Wayne Carey on Friday night footy in 2022. Image: Getty

AFLW great Daisy Pearce is set to leave the Friday night footy role on Channel Seven that was at the centre of a controversy involving Wayne Carey last season. The broadcaster's decision to replace Carey with the AFLW premiership winner on special comments for the Friday night matches came under fire from AFL icons Rex Hunt and Dermott Brereton.

Both men claimed Carey was the superior analyst between the two, with Hawks great Brereton denying it had anything to do with sexism. "Gender quotas aside, side-by-side against Daisy for football analysis, Wayne is by far the better analyst," Brereton wrote on social media.

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To her credit, Pearce brushed off the furore around her appointment by Channel Seven, going on to win her first AFLW premiership with the Melbourne Demons before announcing her retirement last month. Pearce - who is renowned for her astute footy brain - has now linked up with the Geelong men's team as one of their assistant coaches.

Pearce's new gig at the Cats means she can't make the Friday night time-slot work and will instead be moved to the special comments role on Thursday nights. The Age reports that it is one of a number of changes being made to the make-up of Seven's broadcasting team for the upcoming season.

The same report says Pearce's move to Thursday nights is part of a raft of changes that will see sideline reporter Matthew Richardson promoted to the role of expert commentator, where he will call Friday night games alongside popular mainstays Brian Taylor, James Brayshaw and Luke Hodge. Former AFLW player Abbey Holmes is tipped to take up Pearce's former role on the sidelines.

Channel Seven opted not to offer Carey a new role for the 2023 season, following a white powder scandal that landed the Kangaroos great in hot water last year. Before that, he was a popular analyst on the network's prime time Friday night coverage, before being bumped to the Saturday slot. It was a move Hunt - the iconic former AFL commentator - could not fathom.

Channel 7 commentators Abbey Gelmi, Hamish McLachlan, Abbey Holmes, Daisy Pearce and Brian Taylor, pictured here at the 2022 Logie Awards.
Channel 7 commentators Abbey Gelmi, Hamish McLachlan, Abbey Holmes, Daisy Pearce and Brian Taylor at the 2022 Logie Awards. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Daisy Pearce hits back after Rex Hunt swipe

“After 200 games on the field and over 2000 in the box... broadcasting box that is... Wayne Carey to my mind is the best qualified comments man alongside Lethal (Leigh Matthews)," Hunt wrote in response to a Facebook post. “Call me a fossil or whatever. But our game has been ruined by people who are making rules to appease soft penises. For gods sake… give us some biff.

“Give us some spice. And Daisy… just let Carey say a few words... please. If I had one bloke to play for my life... The Ducks him. I want Carey to talk about that rough brave play.”

Hunt then doubled-down when contacted by the Herald Sun about the comments. “I’m glad that people are talking, I had to say it," he said.

“Daisy is terrific and she’ll go coaching and I understand you’ve got to have a lady there but which bright spark at Channel 7 thought to get rid of (Carey) - he or she is wrong.”

Rex Hunt's comments about AFLW icon Daisy Pearce were condemned across the footy world. Pic: Ch7/Getty
Rex Hunt's comments about AFLW icon Daisy Pearce were condemned across the footy world. Pic: Ch7/Getty

Pearce hit back at the controversy around her with a classy response at the time. The 34-year-old said despite not wanting to give the debate "any oxygen whatsoever", she felt compelled to speak out on behalf of other aspiring women in the industry.

"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," Pearce told SEN’s Whateley on Wednesday.

“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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