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Men’s AFL aggro elevates appeal of women’s game

Tegan Forder Roar Rookie

By Tegan Forder, Tegan Forder is a Roar Rookie


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    Jumper taps, coward punches and high elbows – the ugly incidents which have marred the AFL men’s season over the past few weeks only serve to make the women’s competition even more attractive.

    That’s not to say aggression and physicality is missing when the women take to the field – it clearly isn’t, with players going in hard and tackling with ferocity.

    This year’s inaugural season resulted in several suspensions, including 3 one-match bans as a result of the heady first round.

    But in its early stages, the AFL Women’s competition represents what people want from football. Women of all different shapes, sizes and backgrounds competing in a good, honest contest, watched on by a supportive and family-friendly crowd.

    Having experienced two live games in the AFLW – the opening spectacle at Princes Park and a family-friendly carnival-like evening at Whitten Oval – I know which game I prefer to attend. The crowds included more families, more women and more girls. The comparison to an AFL men’s game is stark.

    Sure, I still like watching my Bombers play – and win – but now I’m more inclined to want to watch it from the couch.

    I attended the pre-season game between the Bombers and arch-rival Collingwood, and it was great seeing the boys run out for the first time in front of the long-suffering supporter base. But the level of vitriol and aggression directed at the players and umpires from both lots of supporters was completely out of proportion for a game that was merely a training run.

    We all enjoy special comments from the crowd but we don’t need the nastiness, and we don’t need to see it acted out on the field either. Hits off the ball, pushes into the goal posts and blatant targeting of players don’t belong in the game.

    Going to the football can still be an enjoyable experience. The buzz and roar of a game at Adelaide Oval can’t be replicated, and of course seeing a game at the MCG is always special.

    But for families or groups of girls and women looking to watch football in a relaxed environment without having to deal with abusive fans or seeing an assault on-field, then the women’s game is going to win out.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • July 12th 2017 @ 12:16pm
      I ate pies said | July 12th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

      What? No-one goes to the footy because it’s nice. They go to the footy to watch blokes belt into each other.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 2:10pm
      Andrew Browne said | July 12th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

      Lack of Aggro is the problem with some of the AFL men’s teams.

      • July 12th 2017 @ 3:18pm
        Brad said | July 12th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

        I hope your not indicating some thing that is not positive towards the AFLW on the roar, all articles must be clutching at straws and positive!!!

        Crowds being lots of family has nothing to do with the evil men subsidising no ticket prices

      • July 12th 2017 @ 3:45pm
        HiHo said | July 12th 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        Yeah, you better watch watch out.

        You’ll have people like Paul D and his ilk aggressively jump on and assign labels to you for being a misogynist who assigns labels to and acts aggressively towards women 🙂

        All because you were slightly/ indirectly critical of the AFLW. And we can’t have that now can we.

        • July 13th 2017 @ 9:32am
          Shane said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Nice, you guys are having a non-existent argument for the sake of your own sense of hardship. Got any comments on the article – personally I disagree, because the AFLW have shown the ability to be equally as violent and aggressive. Sophie Casey’s hit on Melbourne’s Meg Downie was a clear example that undermines one premise of this article. I also can’t see how vitriol will be different with supporters just because they are watching men versus women – maybe that is where the societal double standard comes in?

    • July 12th 2017 @ 2:33pm
      Leighton said | July 12th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

      Might be worth a little less hyperbole. AFL matches lost through suspension have declined from 71 in 2006 to 57 last year, despite more teams and players (AFL annual report 2016). While fines and number of charges have increased, suspensions, being the main penalty option, might be a good proxy for violent acts on the field. They have clearly declined.

      To conclude that the women’s game is more attractive because of a handful of suspensions in the past month seems to be drawing a long bow.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 3:47pm
      Andy og said | July 12th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

      I really enjoyed watching the womens game and the atmosphere was.great,almost carnival like but believe me as the competition gets hotter and the stakes get higher the niceties will disappear. Once the.girls.get a taste of success and fame.then I’m sure they will up.the ante.Afl footy at the.highest level isn’t for everyone, it’s for the brave and the ruthless as well as the skilled and the fast. That’s why we love it.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 5:06pm
      Mike said | July 12th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

      Pretty silly article. I think the ladies would be concentrating on lifting the standard of play rather than the niceties of fair play.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:04pm
      Demak said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

      When the games are of a suitable standard I will get interested at the moment I would rather watch u12s sorry but it’s rubbish and just an attempt to raise revenue.
      No problem if you want to play or watch but please don’t try to tell me it’s worth watching

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