Lachie Neale kiss with Abbey Holmes raises eyebrows, AFL fans divided

Lachie Neale and Abbey Holmes found themselves at the centre of a storm in a teacup after a post-match kiss.

The Brisbane Lions star and Channel 7 presenter shared a hug following the Lions’ win over the Bulldogs in Round 13 earlier this month.

While the kiss did not attract attention at the time, it is now being discussed publicly and it is being suggested that the act was “inappropriate.”

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Holmes, a former AFLW star with the Adelaide Crows, interviewed Neale after Friday night’s game before their conversation ended with both of them leaning forward to give him a peck on the cheek.

Television audiences saw the embrace, during which Holmes also placed her hand around Neale’s waist.

The two are friends off the field as well, and Holmes has previously commented on posts Neale has shared on Instagram.

Nevertheless, this seemingly harmless exchange seems to have met with resistance from some commentators.

That’s why it was a hot topic of conversation on radio station 3AW on Saturday, where AFL icon Leigh Matthews spoke about the drama.

Matthews is widely regarded as the greatest player the sport has ever seen. Today he sits on the Lions board and has coached the club to three championships.

Matthews said: “You assume they know each other very well. Because normally you only give someone you know quite well a kiss on the cheek, otherwise you shake their hand.”

“I would shake hands with a woman I don’t know very well. The kiss on the cheek is usually for someone you know very well. I don’t know how well they know each other. I assume they know each other very well, otherwise it’s a highly unusual thing, so we’re talking about it.”

He continued: “This is a first. I have never seen anything like this before. Have you seen it before? That’s why we’re talking about it. It’s quite unusual.”

Veteran football journalist Caroline Wilson was the first person on the show to address the issue, saying she had “no problem with it”.

“Why, why, why do you think Lachie Neale kissed Abbey Holmes last Friday night after the game, after the Bulldogs game,” she asked.

“Would it be the same if he had shaken hands with Cameron Ling (of Channel 7)?

“I saw it and I didn’t have a problem with it at the time. It was just a kiss on the cheek. Did you have a problem with it? And why do you think he did it?”

She continued: “Abbey obviously has a good relationship with the players. She has worked on it. She was a player herself.”

“Lachie had just put in an incredible performance. It was a good win. He was on his feet. He obviously likes her. I didn’t think there was anything inappropriate about it.”

The mere fact that this moment is being discussed publicly has caused outrage among some fans.

In a post read 90,000 times, one football fan wrote: “Are we so soft as a nation that we even find this offensive?

“Maybe they’re friends outside of football too. Gosh, whoever wrote that would hate being in Europe lol. On TV after the game it seemed like a simple kiss but it crossed boundaries.”

The pair at the centre of the conversation clearly had no problems – and it was Holmes who interviewed Neale at half-time of the Lions’ victory over St Kilda on Friday night.

However, their actions have been questioned by some outspoken figures.

Social commentator Kate Halfpenny wrote in a provocative column for The Age: ‘When the start came, the two-time Brownlow Medallist hesitated for a microsecond.

“Neale leaned against Holmes. She responded by wrapping her arm around his waist. He returned the favor. She leaned forward slightly as well and they kissed each other on the cheek.

“The interaction was quick and not gross, but weird enough for my husband and I to say, ‘Wait, what?'”

“It was rare for TV talent to kiss or be kissed as a sign of farewell. You have to go back to Bec Judd, who dodged Tony Jones’ attempted kiss after her final newscast in 2016.”

She asked if the kiss was okay, even though Neale and Holmes were close friends.

“But even if they are best friends forever, isn’t it a good impression if they both say ‘Hasta Manana’ with a kiss at work? It was too intimate for me,” she wrote.

“Time and place, folks. You make your money from this chat, so keep it classy, ​​San Diego.”

“Fascinated, I watched the kiss a few more times. Neither party seemed uncomfortable. The incident has not made waves in the media or on social media. But at a time when former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales is on trial for his unwanted, creepy kiss on World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, I think the kiss question is worth asking.”

She concluded: “Even if Holmes didn’t give the kiss any further thought, the broadcasters and AFL clubs should give their troops a halftime speech: kissing on air is taboo. This is 2024, not a 1970s Christmas party with a pushy boss handing out Brandivinos and muttering that your Prince Matchabelli smells great.”

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