Former Sydney Swans forward Brandon Jack has launched an impassioned defence of the AFLW competition, after the first round of the 2020 season was marred by unsavoury commentary on social media.
Much of the commentary carried sexist and derogatory overtones, as many mocked low scoring matches and took aim at what they perceived to be a lower standard of football.
'RIGHT TO BE LIVID': Carlton gun savaged by controversial former star
Clearly fed up with the negative commentary around the AFLW, Jack took to Twitter to hit back at trolls, before penning a column for Pedestrian outlining why he felt much of the criticism of women’s football was ignorant.
9-8? Love it. Brilliant contest by two teams having a genuine crack. Was on the edge of my seat the whole time. That’s what sport is all about. If you don’t love that you don’t love sport. #AFLW4— Brandon Jack (@brandonjack33) February 8, 2020
Pointing out that he’d been joined at last weekend’s low-scoring match between the Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants by two listed AFL players and an AFL coach, Jack said there would likely have been few spectators more qualified to judge the standard of play than he and his mates.
While many suggested the 1.3 (9) to 1.2 (8) final score, played in torrential rain, didn’t make for much of a spectacle, Jack countered by suggesting much of the criticism was likely coming from park footballers - not exactly the cream of the crop either.
“Anyway, ‘Mr. I could’ve kicked that’, I’m guessing you play a bit of local footy? Well if I ever want to see a cheap, lazy brand of footy getting played then I’ll come down and watch one of your games,” Jack wrote.
“I’d probably see 44 blokes shaking their heads and waving their arms when they don’t get a cheap handball receive in their bid to fulfil some fleeting childhood dream.
“Now there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve won two flags in two years doing it, but just don’t take it out on the women.”
Jack continued, saying it was abundantly clear a significant amount of criticism directed at the women’s league was driven by sexism.
“I am kind of sick of people who act like their criticism of the AFLW isn’t rooted in some form of sexism,” he said.
Female players targeted in AFL 'sexism' controversy
The AFL’s social media department was praised for calling out a raft of ‘unwarranted vitriol’ during the Suns’ clash with GWS.
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.”