Ditching Fatty was the correct decision, but did the Footy Show get the right new host?

Gary Magpie Roar Guru

By Gary Magpie, Gary Magpie is a Roar Guru

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16 Have your say

    We have seen a slight evolution in female sports presenters in the media over the years.

    In the past, female presenters were required to be attractive and maybe not much else. Thankfully, we now see qualified journalists with interest in and knowledge of the game when it comes to rugby league.

    However, it is foolhardy for the Nine Network to promote Erin Molan to the role of Footy Show host. It is worth highlighting that she is the only cast member without experience playing the game. “Not required”, some may say, but significant nonetheless.

    Molan is foremost a journalist with reporting and interviewing skills to match, nicely paired with her light-hearted personality, which suits the show. But these attributes do not make a host whether they be male or female. Many criticisms of ‘Fatty’ support this notion.

    The selection should be purely one of experience, skills and talent.

    The host of a sports panel show needs to have a big personality and typically a playing resume to match it. I am not suggesting this is always the case – Eddie McGuire on AFL’s Footy Show and motor racing coverage are clear examples of hosts leading their shows without playing experience.

    In the case of Erin Molan, she does not have playing experience in the game nor, I believe, a personality that can host or lead a panel of rugby league players. She does have a role in the Footy Show that she performs well but a promotion to host could be detrimental to both her career and the show.

    I’m not a supporter of affirmative action or mere symbolism based on numbers when it comes to female representation, but I am saddened by the lack of respect shown to legitimate female participants in top-tier sport by the networks and that the public is not seeing any signs of change.

    A revolution is required in rugby league media which recognises our female talent – not just an evolution of the status quo and token representation of women which will inevitably lead to negative and shallow debate on each and every occasion.

    Australian skipper and dual-code international Ruan Sims is an example of how our top-tier female talent flies under the radar of the media companies and the fans of the game.

    While there have arguably been examples of comparatively low playing standards over past decades, those days are forever gone in the women’s game and Sims shattered any such mould long ago, if one existed.

    Yet she rarely makes an appearance on television and when she does the discussion is typically limited to the issue of women in sport rather than game reviews, tactical analysis, team selection or rules.

    But playing experience is not the only criteria to host a panel show. There are recent examples of female players who are panel guests but who don’t have the presence or personality to draw the attention of the discussion and then appear desperate to inject any comment just to get a word in. Presence and personality are essential.

    Sims has the experience to boot, credibility, personality and can talk better than any male who played in the forwards. There is a significant media role for her which would barely be debated by rugby league fans if she was given the opportunity by a media network due to her undeniable credibility.

    And she is just one example of female talent whose media potential goes unrealised by our media.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Guru

      October 21st 2017 @ 10:55am
      Nat said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      I tend to agree Gary, that these hosting roles should be based on ability over eye appeal. A giggling blonde batting her eyelids at the players and offering nothing of substance is a yesteryear thing. That is, however, the only thing we agree on. The manner in which you have contradicted yourself is extraordinary and dare I say a little misogynistic. To use your AFL example, Sam Newman has football resume and ego above most so would you have him host over Eddie Maguire? What are Paul Kent’s, Andrew Voss or the League Life panel’s football credentials? Ruan Simms is a very talented player but would she meet your “big personality and typically a playing resume to match it” criteria? Maybe the latter but have you asked Ruan if she is ready for life in front of the camera? Further it is a little hypocritical dismissing someone with an extensive league journalistic career, sports broadcasting, current sports panel host and 2GB league commentator by someone from whom the grammar and punctuation of this piece had been written. I’m sure Erin wishes she “could talk better” to meet the high expectation set by you. My apologies for being so harsh and I appreciate this is an opinion only but your reasoning is flawed and these are but a few examples as to why.

      • October 22nd 2017 @ 2:09am
        Chook said | October 22nd 2017 @ 2:09am | ! Report

        Absolutely agree. Although I have a lot of time for Voss. I think he has the knowledge, I think he has the personality, I think he has all the credentials necessary to at least improve the shows lot. Erin has none of these and unless she intends to host the episodes topless or better she will be out of a job by the end of 2018

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13pm
          BigJ said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13pm | ! Report

          I agree chook, unless she does everyshow with her boobs out and a pole dance ever ten minutes the ratings will slip big time. ( which would be pointless, it’s a footy show not blokesworld.) No doubt she has journalistic credentials, but for me she doesn’t have the resume to host the show. I thought when they brought on Michael Slater was weird as he was a cricketer and knows bugger all about footy, hence why he only lasted three years. but this is pc madness at its worst. This is the beginning of the end of the Footy show. No wonder nrl 360 is killing it. Just talking real footy issues missus the Bs. Great show

    • October 21st 2017 @ 11:43am
      David said | October 21st 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

      Gary, I don’t think chanel 9 has made a decision based on gender. Erin is a competent and qualified host. Fatty isn’t a ‘big personality’ like he once was. Fatty has been a great host for years but I for one won’t stop watching The Footy Show or similar show without him.

    • October 21st 2017 @ 4:25pm
      Not so super said | October 21st 2017 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

      I’m ambivalent on her. I doubt she can carry a show but happy to be wrong

    • October 21st 2017 @ 7:42pm
      Womblat said | October 21st 2017 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

      She’s the daughter of a media personality herself so don’t think she started from zero, please.

      She may do OK, with her deferential attitude and sparkling sense of humour. I actually admired her stance on League and SSM, it showed decency and common sense the AFL sorely lacked. But it’s a big risk Nine is taking. And it’s aimed primarily at females, which is understandable, but inherently dumb since stupid males like myself make up the majority of fans. It’s pretty obvious someone with her excellent bone structure and flawless cheekbones have never eaten a tackle. Credibility goes a looooooong way in this sport.

      But I’ll give her a chance. She hasn’t p***ed me off yet!

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:00pm
        Crocodile said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Which media personality is one of her parents.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13pm
          BigJ said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13pm | ! Report

          It would be her mother, her father was a high ranking military officer.

    • October 21st 2017 @ 7:55pm
      big daddy said | October 21st 2017 @ 7:55pm | ! Report

      Hosting any sports show should be left to someone who conducts themselves in a professional matter. Too many times did Fatty forget peoples names or make stuff ups. Without peter sterling he has struggled. Some one like Bruce McInerny epitomizes a good presenter but even now bruce is starting to become overbearing . Every one has a use by date and unfortunately for fatty his time was up.

    • October 22nd 2017 @ 10:01am
      big daddy said | October 22nd 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      you have to wonder about chanel no 9 management decisions. They made a choice between erin molan and Yvonne Sampson. Sampson has way more talent. You also only have to look at the morning show . Karl stepovertoehold getting way more than lisa Wilkinson is a joke . I would have punted him long ago.

      • Roar Pro

        October 22nd 2017 @ 12:50pm
        Adam Hayward said | October 22nd 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

        I think the reason Karl got more, according to some media reports, is because he has more commitments with channel 9 including a prime time show and 60 minutes, where as Lisa Wilkinson only hosted the today show.

        And now she’s on channel 10 earning 3 times more than Waleed and Carey Bickmore. So much for equal pay lol

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