Channel 7’s Barty party falls flat
Ash Barty sent social media wild with her appearance in the stands during Richmond's loss to Brisbane last week but on Friday night AFL fans just wanted to watch the footy.
Channel 7's cameras were happy to focus on the Aussie tennis star - wearing the yellow and black of her beloved Tigers - as she cheered on Dustin Martin and Co. in their 31-point win over St Kilda.
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Richmond will play Port Adelaide in next weekend's preliminary final and the Seven commentators took time out from the on-field action to discuss whether Barty would make the trek to South Australia.
"If they (Richmond) get the win and Barty travels to Adelaide, Darren Cahill is a board member of Port Adelaide and coaches the world No. 2 (Simona Halep) so we'll have some real rivalry going, not only on the footy field," one commentator said.
"I think she didn't want to risk the health issues and those of her team but she'll get there, Bruce. The lengths that she normally goes to to watch the Tigers in finals time."
Barty pulled out of the US Open because of concerns about COVID-19 and also chose not to play in the French Open.
Bruce McAvaney said: "Amazing she decided not to go and defend her title in France, isn't it. Amazing for the world No. 1. There she is."
Barty's decision to steer clear of Paris means she's got more time to sink beers and fist pump away as Richmond marches towards a third premiership in four years.
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But footy fans who tuned in to watch the game weren't thrilled Seven was paying so much attention to Australia's golden girl.
Basil Zoccali tweeted: "Is Ash Barty the Eddie McGuire for Richmond? Every chance they get she is on the TV."
Sports writer Richard Hinds wrote: "Imagine how many times we would have seen Ash Barty tonight if Seven still had the tennis."
Nine reporter Mark Gottlieb suggested Barty's appearance was stage managed. "Barty even did a little fist pump singing the song, it looked ... weird. Almost like it was staged for Ch7 to cut to her at exactly that moment," he added.
Replying to footage posted by Seven on social media of Barty singing the Richmond song, one Twitter user complained: "More footage of her in that last quarter than the actual game."
Another said: "Not like Channel 7 to flog a dead horse or anything."
Originally published as Channel 7's Barty party falls flat