AFLW star Daisy Pearce has finally spoken out after ex-AFL legends Dermott Brereton and Rex Hunt questioned why she was chosen over former Kangaroos legend Wayne Carey for a primetime commentary spot.
Pearce, who is also one of the most respected AFL commentators in the country for going along with her AFLW pedigree, admitted the saga had ‘exhausted’ her – but the pioneer is determined to make it her ‘pleasure of work’. ‘ not to be influenced.
The saga began after an explosive and misogynistic diatribe from Rex Hunt, a former AFL major and veteran commentator, who lamented Channel 7 for “ruining the game” by moving Pearce to the primetime spot instead of Carey.
Pearce’s colleague at Channel 7, Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton, then backed Hunt’s comments, saying ‘I’d pick Wayne, it’s the plum job’ when asked who should have the Friday night gig.
Daisy Pearce has spoken out after being criticized for her commentary role
Pearce kept a dignified silence throughout the affair, but eventually felt she had to make the unnecessary and obviously absurd comments about a role she fills so well.
it’s only two weeks of discussion, it costs you a little energy. Imagine how much more preparation I could have done this weekend if I hadn’t emotionally dealt with this drop by drop,” she said on SEN.
Questioning your credibility because you’re a woman isn’t something new that I’m starting now. I have quite thick skin for that matter.’
Hunt, who is no stranger to controversy, launched an extraordinary diatribe against Pearce and Channel 7 on Facebook two weeks ago after Geelong’s clash with Melbourne.
Rex Hunt has criticized Channel 7 and Daisy Pearce in a bizarre and explosive diatribe, accusing them of ruining the game in the quest for ‘same sexes’
“After 200 games on the field and over 2000 in the box…broadcast box, that is…Wayne Carey is the best qualified man next to Lethal (Leigh Matthews) in my opinion,” Hunt wrote when sharing his experience in the game.
“Call me a fossil or whatever. But our game has been ruined by people making rules to appease soft penises. For God’s sake…give us some biff. Give us some spices.
“He (Carey) … I suppose … was forced to sit in such a weak gut and make a decision under pressure to have equal sexes everywhere,” Hunt wrote.
One might in particular make an exception to the “same sexes” statement, which is clearly and patently untrue.
Daisy Pearce on an AFL broadcast with James Brayshaw (left) and Luke Hodge
While Pearce’s enlightening analysis during games is brilliant, we’re a long way from having same sexes in a broadcast.
Brereton, who comments on Channel 7 after a storied AFL career of 211 games, backed Hunt’s comments earlier this week.
He agreed that Carey should have the ‘plum job’, and denied that he was ‘threatened’ by the success of a female colleague.
“Aside from gender quotas, side by side with Daisy for football analysis, Wayne is by far the better analyst. Daisy is a very competent commentator, but she’s not Wayne Carey,’ he said.
Dermott Brereton (left) comments on a game on Fox Footy along with the late Danny Frawley (center) and a former teammate of Carey’s, David King
A mother of twins, Pearce has been involved at the VFLW and AFLW levels for 17 years and was named to the All-Australian team in three of her five active seasons.
She said she’d built up “thick skin” from times when female AFL players were not seen or respected by many – but admitted it was weird to be criticized so publicly by her own colleague.
“I think this is a little different and unusual in my opinion because another member of the AFL media fraternity, both current in Derm and formerly in Rex, went out of their way to offer an opinion on who their favorite is,’ Pearce said.
‘That is different. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across that, or if it’s a little unusual for someone to be put in an equation, not from an audience member, but almost a colleague of sorts, since Derm and I both work here.”
Daisy Pearce (right) in action for Melbourne’s AFLW team in 2018
While Pearce acknowledged that there was no “gatekeeper” to the game, Pearce also said she’d decided to say something because she felt a responsibility to act as a spokeswoman for other people and fans involved with the game. ‘
“I would say that while it may ruin football for Rex, maybe there are people who can connect better with football now that there is more diversity in the broadcast team,” she said.
“Whether it’s gender, race, background, whatever it is.”
Daisey Pearce (second from right) comments during last year’s grand finale alongside female frontier rider Abbey Holmes, with Luke Hodge (left) and James Brayshaw
Hunt and Brereton’s comments went down like a lead balloon with most fans, of both sexes, and many prominent media personalities slammed the comments.
Veteran journalist, Front Bar host and Carlton’s AFLW runner Andy Maher took to Twitter to defend Pearce.
“Daisy Pearce is: a brilliant footballer, possessor of a great football brain, gifted presenter, insightful commentator and a man of quality and principle,” he wrote.
Rohan Connolly called the Pearce comments “garbage,” while ABC writer Kyle Pollard called Daisy Pearce and Jason Dunstall “the best special comment callers in the game.”
Other users pointed to the controversial pasts of Wayne Carey and Rex Hunt to illustrate why it’s important to keep people like Pearce informed.
Hunt called Collingwood star Leon Davis “black as a dog” in a 2005 broadcast, was exposed to 15 years of sexual infidelity and was found guilty in 2009 of beating up a cyclist.
Wayne Carey now comments on Channel 7’s Saturday matches, instead of primetime
Carey’s indiscretions are a little more serious.
He has been found guilty of indecent assault on a woman, arrested for his wife’s misdemeanor and charged with assaulting a police officer, among other indiscretions.
He is, of course, one of the greatest players of all time, but many would say he shouldn’t be calling at all. That ship has long sailed, however, as he was rehired after being fired.