AFL slams hateful social media ‘vitriol’
The AFL social media team is hitting back at unjust critics of the AFL Women's competition, the fourth edition of which commenced on Friday.
Most of the tournament's condemnation centres around low-scoring contests, a trend that continued on Saturday.
Only two goals were scored during the GWS Giants vs Gold Coast Suns match at Blacktown, the final score being 9-8 to the home side. It was lowest aggregate of any AFL/VFL/AFLW in history.
Inevitably, the result sparked plenty of debate online, sadly featuring a plethora of hateful, sexist comments.
However, the official AFL page has hit back at unwarranted complaints, and footy fans are loving it.
"The men's league isn't subject to such a volume of unwarranted vitriol purely for its existence," the AFL commented on Facebook.
"We will always support AFLW across our social media platforms."
Despite the online criticism and rainy conditions, the 2020 AFLW season has started promisingly - 15,337 fans attended Friday's clash between Richmond and Carlton at Ikon Park in Melbourne.
In comparison, only 13,067 witnessed the men's BBL knockout final at the MCG 24 hours earlier.
The Suns' debut match was heavily rain-affected; forecasters had tipped 120-200mm of rain to hit Rooty Hill.
However, 1540 spectators still turned up to witness the captivating arm wrestle.
AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone wants focus to shift away from the scoreline towards the on-field contest.
"I think we concentrate on the battle that's taking place on field rather than thinking, 'How can we get more scoring going'," Livingstone told the Herald Sun.
"Because I see the football skills there and the football skills are improving year-on-year.
"We've got a big first round and, importantly, we've gone from the first couple of years having 28 matches to having 61 matches in total. So there's more opportunity for girls to learn the craft and hone their skills."
Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford beautifully summed up the importance of the competition's growth.
"They're not girls who play footy, they're footballers who just happen to be girls," Harford said.
"This is the generation that's starting that, so it is pretty exciting."
GIANTS OUTLAST SUN IN RAINY OPENER
The Suns' inaugural banner didn't cope well with the wet and windy conditions but it did little to dampen their spirits.
GWS had the better of it early, having eight inside 50s to the Suns' two in the first quarter.
But the home side couldn't convert their dominance on the scoreboard, as former Giant Britt Perry made them pay, slotting a running goal to open the Suns' AFLW account.
Led by gun onballer Alyce Parker (22 disposals) and new captain Alicia Eva (16), the Giants were getting first use in the midfield.
But the Suns' Brisbane recruits Leah Kaslar and Sam Virgo held firm down back to repel most of their forward entries.
The Suns were also far more efficient when going forward, scoring from three of their five inside 50s to halftime.
Giants forward Aimee Schmidt spurned a golden chance to level the scores halfway through the third quarter, skewing a quick snap from 30 metres out straight in front.
She made amends not long after, though, taking a strong mark and kicking truly to give GWS a well-earned lead.
The last quarter was a slog as fatigue set in and both teams drove the ball forward in driving rain.
But GWS were able to hold off the Suns, denying the visitors a dream start to life in the AFLW.
North Melbourne recruit Jamie Stanton was a standout for the Suns, gathering a team-high 16 possessions.
- with AAP
Yep, the Suns and Giants game wasn't of the highest quality. Conditions didn't help. Neither has expansion.— Max Laughton (@maxlaughton) February 8, 2020
But I don't remember anyone calling for the AFL to be shut down when GWS scored 25 points in the Grand Final last year.
In three seasons (plus the games in the first round of 2020), @aflwomens has played just under 100 games. To put that in perspective, the men played 207 in 2019. Keep that in mind when the trolls try to compare the leagues. These women are nailing it. 💪🏼 #genw #AFLW— Mikey Nicholson (@Mikey_Nicholson) February 8, 2020