‘Singled out’ or ‘clubs’ prerogative’? Coaches’ association reaches out to Pearce amid debate over rooms ban

The AFL Coaches Association has reached out to Geelong assistant and Channel Seven commentator Daisy Pearce after two clubs banned her from entering their rooms post-game, but said it was up to the clubs to decide whether they were comfortable with her presence.

The Brisbane Lions joined Richmond in saying they did not want Pearce, who also holds a match-day role with the Cats, in the rooms after matches while working for the host broadcaster.

Daisy Pearce has been banned from the Brisbane and Richmond rooms after matches.Credit:Scott McNaughton

AFL Coaches Association CEO Alistair Nicholson said their members held a range of views on the issue and they expected the question to resolve itself.

“At the moment it is the clubs’ prerogative, but we will talk with Daisy about where she is at with it and how she feels about it and whether a position might develop out of that,” Nicholson said.

Channel Seven managing director Lewis Martin told SEN that the free-to-air broadcaster would respect club decisions.

“It’s not something we would force upon a club … because we’ve got so many options and Daisy’s insight on our broadcast is so valued, it’s not critical that she’s in the rooms,” Martin said.

The broadcaster’s view is that Daisy’s commentary and analysis is the critical element of her contribution, not where she makes her comments from. A source said it was unlikely Seven would ask weekly whether Pearce was welcome in a club’s rooms, with Pearce wanting to do both jobs without such fuss.

A source at the station, who preferred to remain anonymous, said it was the first time an assistant coach had also worked in a commentary role on the AFL coverage. Current players also stay out of opposition rooms when fulfilling media duties.

Some clubs draw the line at commentators being in the rooms if they are involved in the day-to-day operations of a football department. Lions’ coach Chris Fagan said on Wednesday he did not want his staff “walking around on eggshells” in the fear Pearce may hear something while in the rooms.

“We’re not deliberately targeting Daisy,” Fagan said.

“But it’s no different, I would have thought, if one of my assistant coaches worked in the media and wanted to go in the rooms of another club, they wouldn’t necessarily feel that comfortable with that because you do see things and you do hear things.”

Former Richmond great and Channel Seven colleague Matthew Richardson leapt to Daisy’s defence, saying there were double standards when it came to who could or could not be in the rooms post-game.

“I don’t quite understand this one. I think it’s a bit over the top, to be honest,” Richardson told 3AW.

“I don’t see why Daisy is being singled out here.

“I just don’t see why she’s being banned from rooms. I mean, there’s always been people with dual roles in this business, whether you think it’s right or not.

“There’s been plenty of media performers over the years that have also had roles at footy clubs, there’s plenty doing it now as we speak.”

Coaches at some clubs have off-the-record conversations with commentators before games to give broad insights into key match-ups or expectations to help inform commentary.

Pearce will commentate Thursday night’s game at Marvel Stadium and work as an assistant coach for Geelong on Sunday. Geelong were contacted for comment.

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