Sam Kerr’s choice of language during her post-match interview after the Matildas’ 3-2 comeback victory over Brazil has gripped the nation.
She would probably take it back if given the chance, if not at least for the fact that her “suck on that one” comment sounded like something a six-year-old might say in the school yard.
The Matildas’ ponderous display against Italy in their opening World Cup match raised fair and valid questions around the approach being taken and the tactics being implemented by new manager Ante Milicic.
Heather Garriock and others mocked the Matildas’ insistence on maintaining the high line that allowed ample space in behind and saw defenders caught out on a regular basis.
It appears Kerr and her squad may have felt a little miffed with such analysis and perhaps perceived a hint of unpatriotic sentiment creeping into the narrative around the team.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The critique of tactics and the questions raised around the style of play in the opening match had absolutely no correlation to any lessening of the passionate support enjoyed by the Matildas within the Australian football community.
Perhaps the motivation behind her comment lies more in the rumours of destabilisation that continue to hover, as more and more murky details emerge around the Alen Stajcic sacking.
Either way, something had obviously crept under the skin of the Australian captain and her comment was laced with anger.
I’m not quite sure exactly who the attack was launched at but the message was received loud and clear by those who understood the phrase.
An example of cheap one-upmanship, it was nothing more than a childish and crass retort from someone who should know better.
Spare me the view that it was wonderful to see such passion and honesty in the robot-like world of modern sports people. I too cringe when clichéd, stock standard answers emanate from the mouths of well drilled captains and coaches and I love hearing a more spontaneous personal response.
However, an absence of the obscene and an ability to construct a thoughtful sentence is also a prerequisite for my appreciation.
Kerr’s comment was nothing more than a reactionary insult to a perceived enemy and did little more than mount unnecessary pressure on her team in the lead-up to their clash with Jamaica on Wednesday morning.
After a disappointing result against Italy, her jibe suggested all had been mended and that any doubters would now be silenced. That is a dangerous path to tread.
Sam Kerr should know well enough that sport has a funny way of returning serve and baking humble pies. She should also be made aware that more is expected of an Australian captain in any code.
Perhaps a subtle reference to the comments of the few who appeared to be concerned about the Italy performance and how firm belief and good old fashioned hard work had righted the ship would have been a more prudent approach to the interview.
Instead, Kerr told the critics to “suck on that one” and created an environment prone to a nasty retort from whoever she was picturing when she uttered the words.
She has also missed the most golden of all opportunities: to be the bigger person and resist the temptation of stooping to the level she feels others did.
Smiling pleasantly, walking away confidently and scoring goals against Jamaica is a far better approach than the one she chose.
Should Jamaica stun the Matildas in their final group match and the Jamaica Observer’s front page subsequently uses an image of Kerr underneath the headline, “Suck on that one”, would anyone think that acceptable?
I’d tip not.
No reputable newspaper would do it. It lacks class.
A class that was seriously lacking when Sam Kerr made her original comment.