Rebecca Maddern was never going to "fix" the Footy Show.

Rebecca Maddern made her much anticipated debut on The Footy Show last night and we’ve gotta say, it went well, all things considered.

When Channel 9 first announced the award-winning journo – not to mention Geelong’s No. 1 ticket holder – would be replacing Gary Lyon on the panel of the popular AFL panel show there was much social media hand-wringing.

The trolls were ready to pounce, the blokes began fretting over her credentials, and the rest of us were shouting our praises while desperately crossing fingers behind our backs.

But in the end, it was fine. Better than fine.

Maddern with co-host James Brayshaw at the start of the evening. Source: Channel 9.

The thing is, The Footy Show thrives on controversy. Even up against its NRL equivalent, it's the most sexist show on Australian television. Having a woman on board was never going to change that. And it didn't.

Aside from note-gate, when the Twitterverse momentarily lost its mind over some words scribbled on Maddern's left hand - things got off to a clean start.

Then the inevitable prodding began. First off, Sam Newman made a show of welcoming his new co-host by pretending the pair had never met. Hilarious.

Watch (post continues after video):

Video via Channel 9

"Listen, l bought flowers and stuff. Here's my card, I'll give you that," he said, slipping her a business card.

"I've been in the business a long time. I know how it all works if you ever need anything just please, give us a call."

Maddern, who's got more than a decade of experience under her belt, expertly shrugged it off.

Yeah, nah. Source: Channel 9.

But this is The Footy Show and the digs continued. Baiting, goading, ribbing... audiences expect nothing less.

Clinging to hopes a female colleague would transform Sam Newmann and Billy Brownless into born-again feminists was sadly misguided.


Brownless brought up Maddern's youthful penchant for practising Salt-N-Pepa dance moves in the 90s, explaining, "what we do here at The Footy Show is we make dreams come true... You've got six months, grand final footy season, that is you Bec."

"No, that won't be happening," she responded quickly and repeatedly, before Brownless added, "a bit of twerking?" and rose from his chair in a nightmarish imitation of the move.

"I must admit I like the thought of it," James Brayshaw added, creepily.

Again, Maddern shut it down: "Can we stop talking about me for a minute? 'Cause it's sort of getting boring."

Watch (post continues after video):

Video via Channel 9

Yes, it was boring and a bit sexist. But this is Brownless, who addressed the revelation of an affair between his wife and former co-host Gary Lyon with the comment, "you don’t touch a man’s wallet, you don’t touch his wife", so what were we really expecting?

Last year he was overheard saying "here come the strippers" as a mother and daughter walked by at a junior footy function.

And then there's Sam. I'd list Sam Newman's sexists gaffes, but there's only so many words worth dedicating to a man who once manhandled a lingerie clad mannequin on air while slagging off women in the news industry.

Last night was pretty tame by their standards.

Regardless, Maddern killed it. She knows her footy, she's a skillful interviewer and she has zero time for sexist bullsh*t. Last night's show was the highest rating non-Grand Final episode of The Footy Show in six years.

And if more than 686,000 viewers weren't enough to convince you she was a hit, perhaps some of the responses she received on Twitter will.