“I was really chuffed and blown away by the support of women,” she said.
When she stepped into the role four weeks into last year’s season, she was thrilled to have the gig, but not didn’t see herself as a pioneer.
Rebecca Maddern never imagined the impact she would have as the first female host of the AFL Footy Show.
Rebecca was more concerned with the stress of moving to a new job on a new network, especially coming on as host with barely a week’s notice.
“Before I was on the show there were so many articles written about how I would go and what I would do and how my relationship would be with Sam Newman, but no one knew what it would be like until I set foot onto the Footy Show,”
“I’d never worked in such an environment before, so I knew I would have to bring my A-game and be the best that I could be.”
It was only after a flood of support that she realized how much she was reaching out for people.
“I hadn’t worked with any of the men before on the Footy Show, but after my first couple of shows, I was completely overwhelmed by the support that I had from people in the media, people in my own office, and the punters that would come up to me in the street, particularly women who would come up to me thanking me,” she said.
It has long been a battle for women to get ahead in sports media, but Maddern said that is changing rapidly.
“The door to women in the media or playing sport on the field has been ajar for quite some time, but I really feel there is this tremendous momentum and the door has been flung open and women are just flooding through,” she said.
“There’s never been a better time for women in media and in sport.”
Maddern started out as a radio sports reporter as a 22-year-old, but switched to covering news because she felt there were better opportunities.
“I found my way into a more general news role because I supposed subconsciously there wouldn’t be a great career if I followed the sports path
“But in 15-20 years that’s just been flipped on its head and there are so many more opportunities. So if I had my time again and I was 22 now, I would have chosen to stick to sport.”