Neil Balme lifts the lid on Daisy Pearce ban from Richmond change-rooms

The Channel 7 commentator and Geelong assistant coach was barred from entering the Tigers rooms.

Neil Balme, pictured here alongside Daisy Pearce.
Neil Balme has revealed why Daisy Pearce was banned from the Richmond change-rooms. Image: Getty

Richmond advisor Neil Balme has confirmed reports that Daisy Pearce was banned from the Tigers change-rooms, revealing why he didn't think it was appropriate that she was there in her role for Channel 7. Pearce, who retired from AFLW in January, is now working as an assistant coach with the Geelong men's team, as well as continuing her TV role with Channel 7.

However the dual roles have caused an awkward situation for rival clubs, with some unhappy about the prospect of Pearce being inside their rooms while conducting her duties for Channel 7. Reports emerged this week that Pearce was banned from interviewing players inside the Richmond rooms after their draw with Carlton in the opening round.

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On Thursday, Richmond's senior club advisor Balme confirmed the reports and said he didn't think it was appropriate for the assistant coach of a rival club to be inside the team rooms. “It probably seems a bit unkind don’t really want assistant coaches from other clubs hanging around your rooms after the game to see what they can find out,” he said on SEN radio.

“I trust her to the point that that’s not what she’s there for, but you can’t do both jobs. I think it’s reasonable of us to say that. It’s certainly not personal.”

Balme labelled it a "sign of respect" that Geelong had offered Pearce an assistant coaching role, but expressed doubts that she could perform both roles properly. “She could figure something out, she’s got a lovely footy mind and Geelong are very lucky to have her," he added. “But to be able to do both jobs is a bit difficult sometimes.”

Channel 7 are normally afforded access to team change-rooms after games to conduct interviews with players and coaches. But a number of other clubs have reportedly raised concerns about Pearce considering her role with Geelong.

Daisy Pearce, pictured here looking on during Geelong's clash with Carlton.
Daisy Pearce looks on during Geelong's clash with Carlton. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Fresh controversy surrounding Daisy Pearce

Pearce has moved from the coveted Friday night footy role to Thursday nights this year due to her commitments with Geelong. However she wasn't in action for Channel 7 this week due to the Cats' game against Carlton.

Matthew Richardon is now calling Friday night matches alongside Brian Taylor, James Brayshaw and Luke Hodge. Former AFLW player Abbey Holmes is expected to take up the sideline role vacated by Pearce on Friday nights.

Pearce, a champion of women's footy who won the premiership with Melbourne last season before retiring, was at the centre of controversy in 2022 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 last year 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.”

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