'Not ready for a woman': Erin Molan opens up on 'frustrating' criticism

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Erin Molan attends the Stan Originals Showcase in Sydney in 2019. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Erin Molan has opened up about the criticism she copped from fans early in her career, saying the Australian sporting public “wasn’t ready for a woman.”

The 37-year-old was one of the first women in Australia to make a name for herself as a sports presenter, blazing a trail for her fellow female journalists and hosts.

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Molan previously hosted the NRL Footy Show and is at the forefront of the majority of Channel Nine’s rugby league coverage.

However she was unfairly treated when she first burst into our TV screens, and still has to deal with nasty backlash from fans on a daily basis.

“The challenges, of course, have been there. Being one of the first females to do a lot of things that I’ve done in my career had its own challenges,” Molan said on the Women of Influence podcast recently.

“Sometimes I don’t think the public and other people were quite ready for a woman to be in the kind of roles that I was put into.

“What frustrated me early on was so much of the criticism, the majority, 99 per cent of it, had nothing to do with what I said or what I knew or the way that I hosted or conducted a panel or the information I gave.

“It was what I looked like, what I wore, the fact that I’d never played football before. All these things that weren’t part of my control and didn’t matter given the role that I was doing.

“It was always things that were aesthetic rather than the core of what I was saying or the content that I was delivering and I think that's frustrating.”

Sam Thaiday, Erin Molan, Jonathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer look on before an NRL game in 2019. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Erin Molan hails ‘incredible’ changes in sport

However Molan says the Australian sporting landscape has changed for the better, and she’s learned to block out what the haters say.

“I think people are pretty used to me now and I’m a bit of a mainstay, but when I first started, absolutely there was a fair bit of reaction that was interesting to say the least,” Molan continued.

“But the world has changed so much, even in the past 10 years that I’ve been involved at Channel Nine and been involved in sport. There are so many women in prominent hosting and commentary roles now - it’s just incredible.

“And to be honest, if you don’t want to watch a woman as part of rugby league coverage, you can’t watch rugby league because it doesn’t exist now.

“I host, I’m not a commentator, I host. It’s a very different skill set. I’m not an ex-legend, I’m not a former player but I know my role and I must do it fairly well because I’m still there.”

Molan has been at the centre of controversy in recent weeks after an unfortunate gaffe on 2GB Radio that many deemed racist.

Molan apologised after appearing to poke fun at the names of Polynesian players, which caused widespread condemnation and left a number of current stars fuming.