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Maddern 'overwhelmed' by AFL show feedback

AAP logoAAP 30/09/2016 Sarah McPhee

After wrapping up her year as the first female panellist on the AFL Footy Show, Rebecca Maddern insists it "isn't a boys' club".

The journalist of 15 years stole the show on Thursday night when she took to the stage for the annual grand final player revue, dancing to Salt-N-Pepa's Push It and the 2014 pop hit Bang Bang.

Maddern, a Geelong fan born and bred, joined the progam five months ago to work alongside James Brayshaw, Shane Crawford, Billy Brownless and Sam Newman - a panel member since its 1994 inception.

She says she has been "absolutely overwhelmed" by the positive feedback from fans and her colleagues.

"The Footy Show is like meat and three veg for people: they like it, they know to expect the unknown and the unexpected, they feel like it's their show," she told AAP.

"No one in a skirt or heels had ever sat behind the desk before.

"Funnily enough, I've even had guys - like fair dinkum, footy blokes - say to me, 'I really love the addition of you on the footy show, you really bring something new, something different just to spice it up a little bit'."

Maddern said growing up with five brothers combined with a team of females behind the scenes had all helped, while one-on-one player interviews presented a chance to play to her strengths.

"It gives a little bit more light and shade to the show," she said.

"I'm not a comedian and I don't pretend to be ... and coming from a more general news background I can look at an issue a bit broader than the sports guys.

"They (the panel) don't behave any different [from] when I'm there and I'm not there, and I don't want them to change who they are."

Maddern's new gig was part of a groundbreaking year for women in football, with the inaugural season of the National Women's League kicking off next year.

"I think it's absolutely terrific because it allows women and young girls to play the game at the official level, the game that they love to watch," Maddern said.

"For women there was really no avenue to pursue it in a professional sense ... but it's about time, in 2017, that if you want to play at a proper level then you're given that choice."

As for her grand final tip for the Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs face-off, Maddern said it was anyone's game.

"I think it is the most wide-open year," she said.

"We've seen some extraordinary games throughout the season. I wouldn't be surprised if anything happens."

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