What a game changer the introduction of women’s teams into the AFL has been.
Massive crowds have greeted the big game’s newest stars and, for the most part, the support for the women’s league has been incredible.
These players have quite literally hit the ground running; they’re kicking goals, they’re giving it 110 per cent, they’re manning up.
Wait. Can we still say that?
What I find bizarre about the women’s league, though, is the insistence by some that it just “doesn’t look right”.
Come on, guys. Get over it.
Yes, they have ponytails.
Yes, they have boobs.
So do plenty of the male players. (Have you seen Dipper lately?)
Mark LeCras and Nat Fyfe would have to be two of the prettiest players to ever have taken to the field, and does their appearance get scrutinised mercilessly by footy commentators?
By me, sure. I mean, that front page of The West yesterday did Fyfe no favours.
Mostly, though, the male players are judged on their skills and by their ability to connect boot with ball.
In an infuriating column for The Advertiser last year, South Australian footy champ and media personality Graham ‘Studley’ Cornes said after an exhibition match: “They were good — for girls”.
Wow. Thanks, Studley.
Cornes continued by saying “it just didn’t look right right!”
He said there was a “discord to the image and the action”.
Talk about discord. He started and ended his yarn on women’s football by referencing boobs.
Mate, if all you’re going to look at are breasts, you’re going to miss everything else including, you know, the actual game.
It seems we’ve still got a fair way to go when it comes to women’s sport.
There have definitely been some radical attitude changes already, though, especially from little girls who dream of playing on the MCG one day.
When told the other day she kicked “like a girl”, my daughter said “thank you!”, before booting the ball through the big sticks for a goal.
Respect on and off the field can be hard to come by, but we’ll get there.
It just takes balls.