Wednesday , October 20 2021

Caro hits out at criticism over Ross comments

Veteran AFL columnist Caroline Wilson has hit out at criticism over her comments regarding St Kilda midfielder Seb Ross’ decision to leave the team to be with his wife.

Wilson has come under fire in recent days after reporting on Monday night that figures at St Kilda had questioned Ross’ decision to miss the Round 13 clash against Adelaide, a match St Kilda eventually lost by six points.

MORE: AFL legends unload on St Kilda over ‘blame’ and ‘excuses’

Speaking on Nine’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night, Wilson doubled down and took aim at those who had called her out after her original comments.

“Yes, I did have an opinion that St Kilda fans had a right to be disappointed. I stand by that opinion. People can say they’re staggered and shocked – I think the pile on has been pretty shocking to be honest and some of it has been personal,” she said.

“A lot of people have said how dare I speak on behalf of the family – I have enormous sympathy for any young mother, I know about that better than anyone because I’m the one person here who has been a young mother with young children.

“But I wouldn’t have said it if I hadn’t spoken to people at the club and I don’t think those St Kilda teammates who asked Seb to stay did so without knowing his situation, I’d just leave it at that.”

Not only has Wilson been criticised by players, such as Richmond star Jack Riewoldt, with ex-players who are in the media, namely Garry Lyon, also taking a dig, and she labelled some of her critics as “hypocrites”.

St Kilda has been one of the most disappointing teams this season, failing to back up from an inspirational run to the finals in 2020, and ex-Saints coach Ross Lyon suggested that the controversy surrounding Ross’ departure was symptomatic of the club’s struggles both on and off the field in 2021.

“I think this was a January, February problem,” Lyon told Footy Classified.

“When you’re a serious footy club and you’re on top of the game … Seb Ross’ wife was clearly pregnant, this birth was going to happen so the bridges and support should have been put in place so then it’s future setting. Then when you come across it you’re not derailed.”

Wilson’s comments came after Ross released an emotional statement explaining his decision to leave the team.

“On behalf of myself and my family, I wanted to address some of the commentary around my decision to head home following the Sydney game. This was never meant to be about me, and the last few days have not only been tough on my family, but also an unnecessary distraction for the footy club I love,” the statement read.

“When we were told we would be staying in Sydney longer than originally planned, I made the decision to go home and support my wife and our three young children with the intention – and hope – that I could apply for a border exemption and return in time to face Adelaide. When the team was eventually granted a fly-in, fly-out exemption to Queensland the Thursday before the game, my chances of joining them faded.

“But I always knew that was the risk.

“Although I was torn between my club obligations and my family obligations, it was a risk I was willing to take. I knew I needed to be at home to help my wife Marnie with our five-week-old twin boys Vinny and Henley and daughter Charlotte.

“This was never to be about me not honouring my commitment to the St Kilda Football Club – the club that I’m committed to and am proud to represent. This was simply me supporting what I cherish most, my family.

“Thank you to Ratts and the club for allowing me to explore every option with respect to playing or leaving and then supporting me when my decision was made.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank our truly loyal St Kilda fans and supporters and those within the wider AFL community for your heartfelt support over the last few days.

“To that end, I can’t wait to run out there alongside the boys when we take on the Tigers and I hope you’ll be cheering us on.

“Together We Rise.”

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