Sports journalist Neroli Meadows has been appointed host of two new shows for the duration of this AFL season on Fox Footy (Ch 504). The two new shows added to her previous commitments at the network are Saturday Stretch and On The Mark.
Meadows told Mediaweek, “I am really excited about the new shows.”
Meadows appears on Saturday Stretch alongside Dermott Brereton and Brad Johnson. The weekly show gives viewers a wrap of what’s happened in the sport on the day.
Meadows’s role on the show is “newsier” than it is in On The Mark, which is fronted by an all-female team. Sarah Jones, Kelli Underwood and Sarah Olle host the show alongside Meadows. The program explores the personal side of AFL. “There is not really a show like it in the AFL media landscape,” Meadows said. “It is a great opportunity to show the human side of the people involved in the industry. That is what is missing.”
The premise of On The Mark is somewhat like that of the NRL-focused show on Fox League (Ch 502) launched in 2017 called League Life.
“I reached out to Yvonne Sampson [a presenter on League Life] and asked if she had any advice and thoughts. There are similarities between the two shows. League Life has been really successful and has been taken to really well by the public,” Meadows said.
When announcing the new shows coming to Fox Footy, the broadcaster announced that it would have “the most women working in AFL on television”.
Meadows proudly agreed with this statement, but also said: “Hopefully in a few years’ time we won’t even have to mention things like that, it’ll just be normal.”
At the time of this conversation, Saturday Stretch had been on air for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Meadows was gearing up for the launch of On The Mark. The first episode of the program went to air on April 4 with former Collingwood and Western Bulldogs player Travis Cloke as guest.
When the AFL season finishes, Meadows will double as a reporter for NBL and the summer of cricket. She has been a cricket journalist for some time. Reporting on all the action from the cricket is a bit different from other sports, Meadows said.
“Cricket is a funny sport because you tour with the players. You are not part of what they are doing but you certainly get to know them a lot more than you do in other sports – you are in the airport together, you are often in the same hotel and you are also at the training sessions.”
Meadows said she has covered every single one of Steve Smith’s home Test games since he was named captain. The former Australian captain, alongside former vice captain of the Australian test cricket team David Warner and all-rounder Cameron Bancroft, was caught out in a ball tampering scandal during a Test match in South Africa.
Talking about the controversy that has rocked the Australian cricketing world and has been making headlines for over a week now, Meadows said: “It sounds really stupid and dramatic, but I have lost a bit of sleep over it from sitting and watching the Test matches, and thinking about the boys.
“It’s really, really sad.
“But look at the other stories, you see Tim Paine captaining Australia. A few months ago, he was walking away from the game altogether. That’s the beauty of sport.”
Asked what sport is her favourite to follow, Meadows said, “Basketball is my favourite to play. But in terms of watching, when I am covering AFL, I think that’s my favourite sport. And when I am covering cricket, I think that’s my favourite sport. It’s a good position to be in.”