JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Mother's Day is an opportunity for AFL

THE AFL prides itself on being a brave and bold organisation. In recent years, it has gone to war with governments and stadiums, it has brutally crunched record-breaking broadcast agreements with the country's most powerful media moguls and taken calculated but costly risks on two of the best-known rugby league players in the land.

Casting aside potential loss of face and bank balance, it has launched two football clubs off the back of Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau in two of Australia's toughest sporting markets. This week's indigenous fixtures are another reminder that the AFL can rightly claim to be a pioneer.

Which makes the league's decision to run away from Mother's Day all the more perplexing. Particularly given the AFL's constant claim that it must continue to embrace women in the code as clubs and their increasingly desperate bottom lines demand membership, sponsorship and attendances.

As ''fan experience'' goes, the scene at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon about 12.30pm could not have been more uninspiring. Some 7000 North Melbourne and Bulldogs supporters had trickled in to witness a handful of North officials egging on a handful of women dressed in club colours kicking for goal. In fairness, the Kangaroos tried their hardest.

On the big screen, North players spoke about their mothers. At the Medallion Club mothers were handed roses. Commentators spoke about getting home early for family dinners. Just over 20,000 fans turned up to watch the Bulldogs cause an upset. And that was about it.

Then Fremantle defeated Port Adelaide in front of a healthy 30,000 over at Subiaco and football heaved a collective sigh of relief. The day the AFL claims clubs shy away from was finished for another year.

This columnist would argue that Mother's Day as a fixture has only become that way due to the AFL's lack of imagination. That applies to clubs as well. Those clubs who lobby each year for new stand-alone attractions in the hope they become blockbusters should use their imagination and embrace Mother's Day.

Given what the AFL and its clubs have done with Anzac Day, the Dreamtime game, the season-opening round and others makes it all the more strange that it has turned its back on what has become around Australia, and certainly in Melbourne, a massive occasion. Restaurants and cafes now burst at the seams at breakfast, lunch and dinner. So do those cinemas that schedule special Mother's Day features with add-ons.

The Mother's Day Classic run/walk around the Tan attracts thousands raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It seems more astonishing that the AFL, having embraced with the Melbourne Football Club the Breast Cancer Network Australia's famous pink lady in the middle of the MCG, has not used its imagination to create something special for its legion of women fans on Mother's Day.

The AFL says attendances are always poor on Mother's Day, having created a climate of non-interest and in fact removing one of the three games usually played on a Sunday to the following Monday night. This year's games were never going to attract big audiences given the teams involved.

Last season, Essendon played West Coast at Etihad and Melbourne played Adelaide at the MCG. In 2009 and 2010, there were no games at all in Melbourne and in 2008 there were no games at all on Mother's Day due to a weekend off for a special 150th-anniversary state-of-origin game.

Women's Round has failed to become a meaningful punctuation mark in the AFL's fixture having been shifted around and sometimes ignored altogether. It's to be held over round 17 this season.

Here's a thought. Schedule it over the Mother's Day weekend and pitch Collingwood against Hawthorn/Essendon/Carlton/Geelong/Richmond at the MCG on Sunday afternoon. Join forces with the Tan classic. Play a VWFL game as a curtain-raiser. Line up Deborah Conway or Clare Bowditch to perform a couple of songs. Offer an incentive for mothers and their children to come along. We think the crowds would come.

The AFL is the game that welcomes everyone. Women embrace it in proportions not seen in any other code. And yet two days ago, for the AFL and its clubs, Mother's Day was an opportunity lost.

14 comments so far

  • Yeah, nah.

    Commenter
    Tyler Durden
    Location
    Balwyn
    Date and time
    May 15, 2012, 9:43AM
    • Isn't the highest form of respect to women and mothers treating them as 'normal' supporters? Seeing them as the week-in, week-out loyalists that they are and recognising that they are in the stands every week. The whole concept of somehow having to bribe them or patronise them to get them through the gates actually seems a bit insulting.

      Really do wish Caro would occasionally stick to footy and stop using it merely as a vehicle to promote her social agenda.

      Commenter
      Kris
      Date and time
      May 15, 2012, 10:48AM
      • Well it had to be brought up Kris. Didn't it?. We've all seen how much effort the AFL and the media put into Father's Day. It's only fair that the Mum's of the players get treated the same. Oh Hang on.....

        Commenter
        Gilly
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 15, 2012, 1:02PM
      • Respect has nothing to do with it. Mothers day crowds are always terrible and its not because women supporters don't go. Its because sons, daughters, etc who would normally go to the footy go over to mums place for lunch instead.

        Commenter
        Mick
        Location
        Melb
        Date and time
        May 15, 2012, 3:46PM
    • Mother's day should be marked no more or lass than Father's day or men's round. If you are a mother who likes to go to the football, you will go. If you aren't already a fan, marking the day as a special opportunity to become one when the day is supposed to be about doing things that will make Mum's happy doesn't make sense to me.

      I am female and it irks me when female football fans are seperated from their male counterparts. We go to the football every week. Our clubs know we're there from our memberships or, oddly enough, a quick glance at the crowd. I certainly don't need my club or the AFL pointing out or suggesting that just because I have two x chromosomes I am somehow representing something different to my heterozygous fellowship.

      I don't like women's round. Just because it's called that doesn't make it any different to any other round. Every week is women's round and every week is men's round and kid's round. Take away the number of female attendees from the total attendance and it would look like a rugby crowd.

      If you want to raise the profile of women's participation in the sport, write about the things they do as people rather than women. Pick the match of the round from the VWFL and report it. Write about people, not just women who work at clubs and tell us what they do. Make it a point of similarity rather than difference.

      Commenter
      Professor Bollocks
      Date and time
      May 15, 2012, 11:22AM
      • Ah Caro you are as imaginative as the AFL buffoons you are castigating. Your solution after paragraph upon paragraph of whingeing? Play Collingwood against someone, that will bring the crowds. Why bother? 2 years down the track you and everyone else will moan about the fact that Collingwood has been handed another "blockbuster" fixture.
        Here's a thought. Play North versus the Bulldogs on Anzac Day and the Pies versus the Bombers on Mothers Day. Guess which day will be bigger in 2-5 years time. Do you see now?

        Commenter
        Gilly
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 15, 2012, 11:48AM
        • "Here's a thought. Schedule it over the Mother's Day weekend and pitch Collingwood against..."

          HELL no. I wont go - mother's day is to be spent with mum and bub. Not the footy.

          Get real, Carro.

          btw, Go Pies !

          Commenter
          clemo
          Location
          Mt waverley
          Date and time
          May 15, 2012, 1:24PM
      • They should have the games played on that day as appreciation to mothers game, I watch the Port V Freo game and that was a nice gesture to give flowers to the mothers at the ground before going and signing there song in the club rooms. One thing that I noticed is a higher female participation rate to the games over in the west from watching games on TV from WA.

        Commenter
        jamesianmathews
        Date and time
        May 15, 2012, 12:31PM
        • two options - leave Mothers day footy free all together and dot the games for that round around the nation on the saturday OR put the so called "big 4" melbourne clubs on Mothers day and draw a bigger crowd.
          You cant play 2 of the lowest drawing games on the least supported day of the season and expect any different.
          However if you compare the crowd at the the north doggies game to ANY NRL game for that week, it was effectively double.

          Commenter
          carltank=success
          Date and time
          May 15, 2012, 1:00PM
          • The AFL owe women - nothing!

            Commenter
            Lindsay
            Location
            Perth
            Date and time
            May 15, 2012, 1:35PM

            More comments

            Make a comment

            You are logged in as [Logout]

            All information entered below may be published.

            Error: Please enter your screen name.

            Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

            Error: Please enter your comment.

            Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

            Post to

            You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

            Thank you

            Your comment has been submitted for approval.

            Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

            AFL 2015

            Round 1
            Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
            CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
            Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
            MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
            SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
            BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
            WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
            Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
            STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
            ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
            FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
            Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
            HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 2
            Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
            WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
            Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
            RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
            GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
            COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
            GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
            PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
            Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
            GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
            ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
            NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 3
            Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
            COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
            Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
            CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
            ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
            SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
            NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
            BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
            Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
            HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
            GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
            WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 4
            Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
            RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
            Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
            STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
            ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
            GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
            PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
            FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
            Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
            BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
            GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
            WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 5
            Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
            CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
            Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
            RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
            SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
            GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
            NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
            WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
            Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
            MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
            STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
            ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 6
            Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
            COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
            Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
            NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
            WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
            GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
            GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
            MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
            FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
            Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
            CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
            PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 7
            Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
            ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
            Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
            ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
            HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
            CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
            SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
            WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
            Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
            WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
            RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
            BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 8
            Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
            GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
            Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
            STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
            GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
            GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
            HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
            FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
            Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
            ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
            MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
            PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 9
            Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
            Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
            MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
            WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
            RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
            ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
            BRI vs STK 13:10G
            COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
            WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 10
            Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
            FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
            Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
            GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
            ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
            PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
            NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
            STK vs HAW 16:40ES
            Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
            View All Fixtures
            Round 11
            Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
            GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
            WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
            NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
            Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
            COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
            STK vs MEL 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 12
            Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
            ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
            Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
            GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
            WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
            Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
            View All Fixtures
            Round 13
            Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
            FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
            Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
            Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
            BRI vs ADE 16:35G
            STK vs WBU 19:20ES
            Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 14
            Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
            Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
            COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
            Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
            GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
            WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
            MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
            Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs STK 13:10ES
            ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
            FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 15
            Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
            Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
            WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
            NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
            WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
            HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
            BRI vs SYD 16:40G
            View All Fixtures
            Round 16
            Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
            Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
            GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
            COL vs WCE 16:35ES
            SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
            FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
            PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
            STK vs RIC 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 17
            Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
            CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
            Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
            ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
            RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
            ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
            BRI vs NTH 19:20G
            Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
            WBU vs COL 13:10ES
            MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
            WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 18
            Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
            Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
            COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
            SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
            CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
            GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
            Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
            PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
            ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
            FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 19
            Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
            ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
            Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
            COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
            WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
            BRI vs GCF 16:35G
            GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
            WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
            Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
            MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
            GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
            STK vs FRE 16:40ES
            View All Fixtures
            Round 20
            Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
            SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
            Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
            ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
            NTH vs STK 14:10BA
            PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
            GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
            BRI vs CAR 19:20G
            Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
            RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
            WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
            FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 21
            Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
            HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
            Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
            COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
            GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
            GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
            STK vs GEE 19:20ES
            ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
            NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
            CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
            WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 22
            Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
            GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
            Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
            GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
            HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
            NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
            ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
            GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
            Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
            ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
            STK vs SYD 15:20ES
            FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            Round 23
            Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
            COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
            RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
            HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
            GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
            SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
            MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
            BRI vs WBU 00:00G
            PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
            WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
            View All Fixtures
            AFL 2015
            Overall standings
            Team P W L D % Pts
            Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
            West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
            Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
            GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
            Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
            Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
            Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
            Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
            View all
             
            Featured advertisers