A venomous red-bellied black snake caused a 30-minute delay at an AFLW game in Blacktown, as the GWS Giants and Richmond players stood by for a snake handler to safely remove it from the field.
Although the snake, recognized for its venom, is known to bite only in extreme cases, as per the Australian Museum, it was spotted on the field pre-game.
“It’s quite an unexpected sight,” remarked Briana Harvey, the Giants’ head of women’s football, during the pause. “Currently, there’s this little snake in one of the distant pockets of the field,” she continued, emphasizing the need to temporarily stop the game for everyone’s safety.
The snake handler soon reached the spot, took hold of the snake by its tail, displayed it for the cameras, and safely secured it in a container.
Following the interruption, the Giants faced their third consecutive defeat of the season, with Richmond securing a 19-point win. Yet, much of the post-game chatter revolved around the snake handler. Sonia Hood, North Melbourne’s president, humorously remarked on his appearance on social media, stating he looked exactly like she imagined a snake catcher would.
Sarah Black, an AFLW reporter, was amazed by his composure. “Despite being around one of Australia’s most dangerous creatures, he seemed so relaxed, even posing for photos. Legendary,” she exclaimed.
Kane Cornes, an AFL commentator and former Port Adelaide player, shared similar sentiments, naming the handler a hero and an icon on the AFL’s Round So Far show.
Fans too joined the conversation, with one humorously tweeting whether one becomes a snake catcher because of their look or if the job shapes their appearance.
The unique incident captured international attention. An international observer commented, “This has to be among the most Australian sports stories: an AFLW match held up due to a venomous snake on the field.”
On the game front, the teams were close, separated by only three points by the three-quarter mark. But under the intense sun, Richmond surged ahead.
Despite the searing 30-degree heat, Richmond secured their second win of the season, even after facing an early setback with the injury of key midfielder Jess Hosking.
As for the Giants, they are yet to win this season, but their coach, Cam Bernasconi, remains optimistic. He highlighted the team’s unity, saying, “Although we haven’t had a win yet, the team spirit is strong. We believe in our strategy and each other.”