Melbourne star Daisy Pearce says that is “a step back” to think that men can’t comment on women’s football following Tiffany Cherry’s criticism of the gender of the new host of Channel 9’s Women’s Footy show.

In a column in the Herald Sun on the weekend, Cherry, who was replaced as host by Clint Stanaway, bemoaned the fact that a male was hosting the show, saying it was a “significant step back.”

Pearce said she disagrees with Cherry’s view and there shouldn’t be a distinction between women’s and men’s football.

“I enjoy seeing men working across and speaking well-informed football commentators talking about our game,” Pearce told SEN Breakfast.

“It just goes to show this is not women’s football, it’s just football.

“When I tune in and hear Rohan Connolly and Jack Heverin doing the preview on SEN for the women’s round, I love that. It shows that the outside world and media consider this to be football, not women’s football.”

Pearce, who has been part of Channel 7’s footy broadcast team over the past few seasons and this year joins SEN, said that ‘we have taken a few steps back’ if people believe that only women can comment on AFLW games – and men on AFL matches.

“I’m all for women getting opportunities in the game – I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I have if people were against that,” she said.

“As we’re saying that me and other female commentators should get the opportunity to work in the AFL men’s competition, why can’t we see men working across the AFL women’s competition? It’s almost as if we are taking a few steps back if we think it has to be a female.

“By all means if there’s a female out there that is prepared to, and is good at her job and wants to do that, on merit give her that opportunity. But to think that people just get put there because females should be talking about female footy I completely disagree.”

Pearce, who starred in Melbourne’s come from behind win over Greater Western Sydney on Saturday afternoon at Casey Fields, said that she holds the same view when it comes to coaching.

Adelaide’s Bec Goddard and Fremantle’s Michelle Cowan are the only two female senior coaches in AFL, but Pearce said that while she supports women getting involved in coaching, having the best coach possible is who she wants at the helm of her team.

“I would have been disappointed if Melbourne put a female coach in our head coaching position just because we should encourage females to coach – I want the best coach that’s out there,” she said.

“I’m really pleased to have Mick Stinear who had never coached female footy in his life before he came across to the Dees from Oakleigh Chargers.

“I’m so rapt that they picked the best coach for the job.”

Originally published on SEN.com.au

SEN Breakfast with Garry & Tim airs from 6am-9am, Monday-Friday on SEN 1116