The Wheeler Centre played host to a thoroughly engaging evening of discussion on all things AFLW in 2018.
With Karen Lyons hosting, Channel 7 AFL presenter and journalist Sam Lane was joined by ABC Grandstand’s Angela Pippos to chew the fat on a season that delivered dizzying highs, crashing lows and a lot more controversy than the first iteration.
Drawing on their knowledge of the women’s game from well before the AFLW started, Lane was quick to point out that despite the perception of a “rushed” onset of the league (brought forward to 2017 from 2020), the opposite was true.
“AFLW should have happened earlier, it was late, hence Gil (McLachlan) brought it forward," she said
“The game changer was that a commercial opportunity was going missing.
“In August 2015, the exhibition game rated the house down, beating the Adelaide v Essendon men’s game.
“It was at that moment that the penny dropped.”
Harking back to before even exhibition games were broadcast, Lyons added.
“Often women were met with indifference; ‘We understand that it’s important, but it’s just not as important as the blokes’".
In firm agreement, Lane also noted more of a “nuanced sexism” at the AFL.
“Lots of lifted eyebrows; discrimination took many forms...in the days when Sam Mostyn was first announced as a commissioner, a $65,000 salary for a Women’s Development position was deemed a ‘luxury’ that the AFL couldn’t justify paying.”
Pippos, who has recently returned to the ABC’s Grandstand team offered this sage advice to all sporting codes.