AFL finals news 2022 AFLW

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AFL bosses should have recognised the “obvious” sensitivities of holding a minute’s silence for the death of Queen Elizabeth during the AFLW’s indigenous round, a leading journalist has said.

Speaking on Nine’s Footy Classified, Caroline Wilson described the tribute as “badly botched”, and said the decision to scrap the tribute after the first AFLW game of the weekend was a “public relations mess”.

“At Friday night’s Bulldogs-Fremantle clash, the pre-game one minute’s silence for the late monarch did not sit comfortably for some of Australia’s first peoples given it followed so immediately after the Acknowledgement of Country to open the AFLW indigenous round,” she said.

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“The remaining one minute silences were scrapped for the rest of the women’s round, a move which in turn incensed a number of football supporters and became a headline by Saturday morning.”

Ahead of Friday night’s men’s semi-final between Melbourne and Brisbane at the MCG, a more extensive tribute to the Queen was held.

It included not only a minute’s silence, but also an instrumental of God Save the Queen. Flowers were placed between the two teams while exterior lights turned the MCG purple.

“Not only did it take away from the moving and stirring tribute at the MCG … it turned a tide of public opinion against the women footballers unfairly. It was divisive and it needn’t have happened,” Wilson said.

“Why the AFL boss or bosses who made this call didn’t take into account their sensitivities of the women’s indigenous round, and only hold the one minute silence for the men’s competitions in the first place is beyond me.

“It was a public relations mess, and it was upsetting for many people on both sides.

“No wonder no one has put their hand up to take responsibility.”

Wilson’s co-host Craig Hutchison disagreed, labelling her views as “a little unfair”.

“It’s a very difficult and sensitive cultural issue. It was unexpected and there was a lot going on in a short period of time to try and work through,” he said.

But Wilson dismissed that, suggesting the sensitivities “would have been obvious”.

“It was indigenous round. I think very quickly it would have been obvious that this was not appropriate for some people, (and) by doing it, it’s upset people on both sides.”

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