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Mick Malthouse said AFL is a "man's game". Here's why Moana Hope is having none of it. 

During a football lunch on Thursday, former AFL coach and player Mick Malthouse insisted that Aussie rules is a “man’s game”. He further claimed that as such, women who want to play the game should do so under modified rules to avoid injury.

Moana Hope, a former Collingwood AFLW player who is now with North Melbourne, was sitting on the panel with Malthouse when he made the sexist remark, and subsequently stormed out of the event.

Hope later posted on her Instagram Stories that she was “embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated [and] disgusted just to say the least” about Malthouse’s comments.

“I won’t sit down and take that,” she continued.

“I love OUR game and I will never, ever let anyone tell me or any girl that we don’t belong or deserve to pull this jumper on at this level.”

After posting to Instagram, Hope told The Herald Sun yesterday: “He said that AFL was a man’s game and not a woman’s game and he’s said that on stage in front of 50 kids who had just played a boys and girls game of football.”

She said the last straw was when Malthouse, discussing potential AFL rule changes, said that if the AFL went to an 18m goal square all the players should “wear skirts.”

“I left after that I was so disgusted and drove back to Melbourne. He can have an opinion but then there’s just degrading and disrespectful comments,” she told the publication.

Jason Akermanis, who was sitting on the expert panel alongside Malthouse and Hope, nevertheless defended Malthouse’s claims this morning on 3AW.

“I thought her reaction was one of someone’s who quite inexperienced,” Akermanis told the radio station. “You want to have people on stage that will give you a different opinion that you’re probably not going to like. We’ve all done it. We’ve all been there.”

Akermanis insisted that after Hope gains more experience in the game, she will “probably be a bit more relaxed and I reckon she’ll see it a bit differently.”

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Describing the incident, Akermanis explained that upon realising that the tension was rising, he “chucked in a joke and tried to lighten the mood, but she wasn’t having a bar of it.”

“And then Mick said if they go 6-6-6 it’s going to be like bloody netball. And then you could see her face, she sought of screwed her nose up,” the former AFL player said of the incident. “We were nearly finished the chat, we were on stage for about 20-25 minutes and then I look over and she’s put the mic down on the stool. She’s walked past Mick and Christi [Malthouse]. Walked down to the table sitting right at the front of the stage, grabbed her coat and walked out.

“I thought that’s a bit weird,” he said of Hope’s reaction.

Malthouse similarly defended his claims this morning, also talking to The Herald Sun, maintaining this his comments had been misconstrued.

“I make no apologies for having an opinion about women’s football. If Mo Hope hadn’t been looking at her phone or watch she might have listened to what I said in context instead of interpreting something she half heard,” he told the publication.

However, despite these men insisting that Malthouse’s comments were justified, Hope has shared to Instagram screenshots of messages that are perhaps the most telling. They are DMs which she has received from audience members who attended the panel discussion, and witnessed Malthouse’s comments for themselves.

Moana Hope Mick Malthouse
Image via Instagram.

These messages evidently support Hope in her claim that Malthouse's opinion that females shouldn't be playing AFL - under the same rules as men - was sexist and offensive.

Hope's partner, Isabella Carlstrom, also supported the AFLW great, posting to her own Instagram Stories: "How can this man be paid to attend a function and put women down so badly that @moanahope puts the mic down and walks out of a room full of people. Degrading women of the AFLW #disgusting."

"I cannot believe what this disgrace of a man said while on stage in front of so many young kids and my partner."

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