'It's ridiculous': Controversy erupts over 'untouchable' AFLW

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has described Mark Robinson's recent defence of the AFLW as 'ridiculous' and argued the women's competitions must make sacrifices. Picture: Channel 9/Foot Classified

Former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes has passionately outlined why he believes the AFLW should not be ‘untouchable’ in response to an article written by the Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson.

Robinson made the ‘untouchable’ comment as part of his article, in which he defended the AFLW from critics who were making the case for it to be shut down or postponed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

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In Robinson’s article, Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford said the argument the AFLW was unprofitable because many live games were free for fans to attend didn’t stack up, largely because of the multi-million dollar investments in facilities from state and federal governments, which were contingent on the growth of women’s football.

“A couple of people contacted me from clubs saying ‘all these men are getting sacked… the AFLW doesn’t bring any money, why don’t they just postpone that for a year?’” Robinson later explained on Fox Footy.

“There’s murmurings of women’s footy, this is not the time. It is a ridiculous assertion that because nobody pays to go and watch them, they’re not financially off.”

The AFLW grand final was cancelled just days before it was due to go ahead, as the league reacted to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Kane Cornes blasts ‘ridiculous’ AFLW argument

Responding on Channel 9’s Footy Classified, Cornes labelled Robinson’s argument ‘ridiculous’, listing the names of several well-known AFL and club staff who had been stood down as a result of the crisis.

He then went on to question why the $20 million running costs of the AFLW weren’t repurposed to save more jobs.

“It’s the most ridiculous article I’ve read during the coronavirus period. The first two paragraphs, ‘they are the untouchables and so they should be in this time of crisis’,” Cornes said.

“I understand the importance of the AFLW and the role that the players have played in growing the game, participation.

“To think that a brand new competition essentially that is four or five years old that cost the AFL $20 million per season and runs for 10 weeks, won’t be affected by this is ridiculous. How can he say that it is untouchable, of course it is going to have setbacks.

“There will be 14 teams next year and I hope there is, but it is going to be like every other sport around the world and it will be affected by this crisis.”

Tayla Harris and Georgia Gee of the Blues celebrate during the 2020 AFLW Round 5 match against the Saints, before the season was suspended. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Among those who Cornes said had lost work were Swans great Tadhg Kennelly, Dale Morris, and Scott Thompson, as well as his own brother Chad Cornes.

He also lamented the shortened WAFL season, SANFL players taking to the field without pay, and the interrupted junior NBA League.

Fellow Footy Classified host Caroline Wilson wrote Robinson’s article off as merely a ‘dog-whistle’.

“They’ve already had their season cut short,” she said.

“I think it’ll end up being good for the AFLW, people will be let go and wages will be cut. They’re not untouchable, I think it was a bit of a dog-whistling column.”