Booing stars doesn’t work: Danger

April 23, 2019 10:30 am in by

GEELONG superstar Patrick Dangerfield reckons AFL fans should go their hardest when it comes to booing opposition players.

Dangerfield, who is also president of the AFL Players’ Association, says he’s seen enough evidence to suggest it simply doesn’t work.

Exhibit A? The Hawthorn faithful’s targeting of Gary Ablett on Easter Monday.

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A pantomime villain in one of the AFL’s enduring rivalries, Ablett was roundly booed by the Hawks-dominated MCG crowd from the moment he lined up in the forward line against Jack Gunston.

But the 34-year-old Ablett had the last laugh, winding back the clock with a vintage three-goal performance – highlighted by a stunning mark on the back of David Mirra – in the Cats’ 23-point win.

“You can boo him as much as you like when he’s kicking goals with the outside of his foot from 50 or taking screamers in the pocket and snapping goals,” a grinning Dangerfield said after the game.

“Boo for your life. I don’t think it bothers him too much.

“It’s hilarious, really. What we’ve found with (West Coast midfielder) Andrew Gaff a few weeks ago is that booing does not work. Players don’t care, they embrace it and the real good ones just feed off it like Gaz did today.”

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While the boos for Gaff have been fuelled by his eight-week suspension for knocking out Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw, the hostility towards Ablett appeared largely motivated by his status as a star of the game.

“Good players get booed,” Geelong coach Chris Scott said.

“It seems to be a trend.”

Scott said he had briefly spoken to Ablett after he “liked”, then unliked, Israel Folau’s incendiary social media post suggesting hell awaited “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”.

The deeply-religious Ablett posted on Instagram on Easter Saturday that he loved all people “regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality”.

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“I spoke to him about it for 30 seconds or so,” Scott said.

“I’m not a social media participant at all but his (Instagram) post was shown to me. If he said ‘I love all people’, I think that says it, doesn’t it?

“As a society we’ve got to stop hanging people who misspeak and then say ‘sorry, that’s not what I mean – this is what I mean’. You can keep trying to make a story of it if you like but I think you’re being disingenuous if you do that.”

© AAP 2019