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.

            2014 Home and Away

            Round 1
            Fri, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
            COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
            Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
            GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
            GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
            Sun, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
            CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
            Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
            GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
            Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
            NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
            Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
            HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Report Stats
            STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
            Sun, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
            WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 2
            Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
            RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
            Fri, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
            ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
            Sat, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
            STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
            PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
            FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
            SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
            Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
            BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
            MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
            WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 3
            Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
            HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
            Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
            WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
            ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
            GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
            WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
            COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
            Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
            GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
            NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
            ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 4
            Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
            RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
            Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
            CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
            PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
            GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
            GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
            GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
            Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
            SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
            STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
            FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 5
            Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
            BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
            Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
            COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
            SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
            WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
            ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
            Sun, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
            ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
            MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
            WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
            Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
            GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 6
            Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
            COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
            STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
            FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
            Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
            GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
            CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
            MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
            Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
            WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
            RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
            PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 7
            Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
            CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
            Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
            HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
            GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
            ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
            BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
            ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
            Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
            NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
            GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
            WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 8
            Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
            SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
            Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
            PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
            BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
            MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
            Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
            WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
            Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
            STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 9
            Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
            ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
            Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
            ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
            Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
            RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
            NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
            FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
            Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
            STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 10
            Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
            GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
            Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
            GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
            COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
            PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
            Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
            GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
            CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 11
            Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
            SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
            Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
            STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
            Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
            MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
            BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
            ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
            Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
            ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
            WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
            HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
            WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 12
            Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
            GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
            Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
            HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
            PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
            WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
            GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
            Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
            GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
            FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
            NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
            Mon, 09 JunTimes shown AEST
            MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 13
            Fri, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
            CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
            Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
            RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
            SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
            WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
            BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
            ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
            Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
            GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
            COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
            ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 14
            Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
            RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
            Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
            PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
            HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
            GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
            FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
            ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
            Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
            GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
            STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
            MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 15
            Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
            GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
            Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
            HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
            STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
            FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
            SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
            BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
            Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
            WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
            ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
            COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 16
            Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
            NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
            Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
            RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
            GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
            GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
            MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
            PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
            Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
            CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
            WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
            GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 17
            Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
            ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
            Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
            MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
            NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
            WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
            BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
            SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
            Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
            RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
            ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
            FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 18
            Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
            CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
            Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
            STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
            GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
            Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
            PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
            WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
            Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
            WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
            Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
            BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
            HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
            Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
            COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 19
            Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
            FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
            Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
            SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
            Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
            ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
            RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
            GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
            NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
            Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
            MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
            HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
            COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 20
            Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
            RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
            Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
            GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
            CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
            HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
            PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
            GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
            Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
            BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
            STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
            WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 21
            Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
            CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
            Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
            SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
            GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
            ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
            COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
            ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
            Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
            NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
            MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
            FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 22
            Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
            PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
            Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
            NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
            ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
            GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
            WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
            HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
            Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
            BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
            WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
            RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            Round 23
            Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
            COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
            Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
            CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
            FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
            SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
            NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
            GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
            Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
            GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
            ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
            WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            AFL Finals Round 1
            Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
            HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
            Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
            SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
            NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
            Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
            PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            AFL Finals Round 2
            Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
            GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
            Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
            FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
            View All Fixtures
            AFL Finals Round 3
            Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
            SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
            Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
            HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            AFL Finals Round 4
            Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
            SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
            View All Fixtures
            AFL Home and Away
            Overall standings
            Team P W L D % Pts
            Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
            Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
            Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
            Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
            Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
            North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
            Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
            Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
            View all
             
            Win an iPad mini by entering our Sport survey
            Featured advertisers