Eddie McGuire laughing at Channel 7 over AFL media war and Luke Darcy

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Eddie McGuire is laughing at Channel 7.

The former Channel 9 boss has been sitting back and enjoying the so-called “media war” that has erupted between sections of the footy media this month.

The situation took a dramatic turn on Friday night when Bulldogs great Luke Darcy confronted footy shock jock Kane Cornes during an awkward live segment on Triple M’s Friday Huddle.

Darcy’s ambush has seen the Channel 7 AFL commentator widely criticised by media rivals, including on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

That confrontation comes after a week when football media figures have traded verbal barbs following the Sunday Footy Show co-host’s “character assassination” of Channel 7 rival Trent Cotchin.

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Nobody, it seems, has enjoyed the cuts and thrusts more than McGuire.

The former Collingwood president on Monday shared what he believes is the real reason the feuds erupted, while taking a swipe at the rival TV network.

“What about these media wars… I’m enjoying a few people at Channel 7 getting smashed,” McGuire said on Nine’s Eddie and Jimmy Podcast with co-host Jimmy Bartel.

“I’ve got a few bones to pick from back in the day from that one. There’s nothing better than when the media turns on each other. It’s fantastic.”

McGuire has also gone public with rare criticism of his former breakfast radio co-host Darcy.

The pair’s popular Hot Breakfast morning radio show on Triple M made them one of the highest profile duos in Aussie radio before they split in 2020 after 11 years together.

That close relationship is why McGuire believes there is a simpler explanation for why Darcy’s public swipe came off as bitter as it did.

Darcy on Friday asked Cornes about being “more mean spirited and nasty to people than anyone in the history of our industry”.

After spotting Cornes in an Adelaide gym during the AFL’s gather round, Darcy also said Cornes looked “alone and sad and relatively friendless in a football sense”.

McGuire now says Darcy’s comments weren’t intended to be as brutal as they sound.

“I sat next to Luke Darcy for 10 years, three hours every morning, and as you know doing breakfast radio, when you turn up at 5am every morning, you get to know people pretty well,” McGuire said.

“Darce is a very deep thinker and is as empathetic a person I’ve met.”

The Melbourne media mogul then tried to “get inside the mind” of Darcy.

Luke Darcy confronts Kane Cornes in prickly interview

“So Darce has seen Kane give it to his mate, Trent Cotchin as well, but I think it goes back to the Dogs and (coach) Luke Beveridge who has been under a bit of pressure there,” McGuire said.

“And Darce is their director of footy so all those things come together. But Darce then went to the gym – the famous gym session now – and he’s seen Kane… and Darce probably thought here’s a guy who is torturing himself, mentally, physically, emotionally, to have this position, and I genuinely think he was reaching out.

“And then when he got on air… you can see the cogs going around in Darce’s mind as everyone’s joking about the fight, and people think he lent into this and he lent too far into it and he sounded like he was being mean spirited and I think it probably came from a good place and then he was too far down the track.

“Everyone loves being outraged these days.”

McGuire saved his biggest slap for Channel 7 itself, suggesting the network doesn’t have the same “journalistic integrity” as Nine.

“Forever Seven have been captain nice guy. Nine’s had a bit of an edge,” he said before referencing the situation that unfolded when Channel 9, with McGuire’s support, took the AFL TV broadcast rights from Channel 7 in a $500m deal in 2001.

“When we took over AFL footy on Nine from Seven, the first thing I did was say, ‘No more Dipper (Robert DiPierdomenico) on the boundary’. No more Neil Kerley,” he said.

“No, put Tony Jones on the boundary and put (doctor) Peter Larkins on the boundary, so we find out what the injuries are instead of blokes that say, ‘Oh, he’s just got a bit of a corky’ when he’s actually having his leg amputated. No more of that caper, we’re actually going to put a bit of journalistic integrity into this and go and ask the hard questions. That’s always been the Nine way compared to the Seven way.”

It comes after veteran footy journalist Caroline Wilson has defended Kane Cornes after Luke Darcy’s scathing comments.

Cornes had mocked Richmond premiership captain Trent Cotchin by mimicking a TikTok clip from the Channel 7 Sport account that showed Cotchin analysing a piece of play.

The vision went viral and was slammed by Seven personality and Tigers great Matthew Richardson, who tweeted: “Taking the piss out of 2 AFL premiership captains. Bar getting lower and lower.”

On Nine’s Footy Classified on Monday, Wilson said it was actually Darcy who was the “nasty and mean spirited” one on this occasion.

“Luke Darcy attacked my colleague Kane Cornes the other day,” Wilson said.

“He called Kane nasty and mean spirited, and evoked an image of Kane working alone in the gym — alone and sad and relatively friendless in a football sense.

“It was one of the nastiest and more mean spirited attacks I’ve witnessed between footy media — and that’s on Luke, not Kane.

“Bizarrely, Luke could only name one example to support his theory. And equally weird, his description of Kane’s career as purely transactional.

“He said he wasn’t up for the debate. How pathetic. And a bit rich, given Luke has sat alongside the worst boys club attacks on the Footy Show. And Triple M has had its moments too.

“But of course Luke Darcy is also the Western Bulldogs football director and he said his attack on Kane had nothing to do with Kane’s ongoing criticism of coach Luke Beveridge.

“I have to say, I hope that kind of completely irrational performance is not reflective of the Bulldogs board or its footy or coaching department.”

Cornes had got a reaction out of Darcy when suggesting the 48-year-old’s personal attack was motivated partly by Cornes’ track record of criticising Bulldogs premiership coach Beveridge.

Darcy did not appear happy by the comment and responded by saying Cornes was “putting words in my mouth”.

It’s then that Triple M co-hosts Damian Barrett and Jason Dunstall stepped in to defend Cornes.

“It doesn’t sound like you’re being positive,” Dunstall said after Darcy was forced to defend the line of questioning.

“I know Kano didn’t win the fight the other night, but I think he did win this one. I’m on Kane’s side. I reckon he’s spot on.”