Erin Molan has come under fire from footy fans following reports she and NRL legend Andrew Johns can no longer work together on Channel Nine due to a bitter feud.
The rugby league immortal has been missing from the commentary box alongside co-host Molan during the network’s Friday night coverage in recent months.
An ‘awkward’ falling out between the pair is said to be the reason for Johns’ absence and Channel Nine is ‘managing’ the feud, according to a report by the Sunday Telegraph.
While Johns and Channel Nine strongly denied claims of a rift, Molan has been slammed online by furious fans.
Erin Molan (left) and Andrew Johns (right) haven’t worked together on Channel Nine’s Friday Football coverage in recent months, fuelling speculation of a feud between the pair
The brutal social media backlash prompted fellow Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould to jump to Molan’s defence with glowing praise.
‘Erin is talented, professional, enthusiastic and very passionate about her work,’ Gould told The Daily Telegraph.
‘Erin, like our other girls, Danika Mason, Alana Ferguson and Ruan Sims, are always well prepared. They each have a tremendous work ethic. They are a pleasure to work with and a wonderful addition to our team.’
NSW Blues coach and Channel Nine colleague Brad Fittler, who’s close friends with both Molan and Johns, refused to take sides.
‘I love working with both of them,’ Fittler said.
Andrew Johns described speculation of a rift with Molan as ‘rumours and innuendo’
Erin Molan has been slammed online by furious fans over the rumoured rift with Andrew Johns
Molan, who is yet to comment on the feud, copped an online roasting from fans after reports on the rift became public.
Many fans made it clear they would rather see Johns in the commentary box.
‘I don’t mind Erin, however, if I was the producer I would much prefer an immortal who can read and dissect the game and call things most others can’t see than someone who has never played the game and reads the autocue,’ a fan posted on Facebook.
Another added: ‘So Chanel 9 are going to let an immortal who has played the game and knows what he’s talking about walk away and let someone that no one can stand stay?’
Meanwhile, Johns was inundated with support as fans urged him to jump ship to Fox Sports and join brother Matt.
Phil Gould has come to the defence of Erin Molan after she was slammed by furious NRL fans
‘Wouldn’t waste your breath go join your brother on Fox Sports. Channel 9 are going backwards. If it wasn’t for Ray Warren the coverage would be a waste of time,’ wrote one man.
Another added: ‘Can you blame him? A girl from the Coast with minimum to no knowledge about the game, as well as zero charisma and form as a sports coverage host, gets put up on a pedestal by Channel 9. Why is it necessary to have her on the coverage?’
There was some support for Molan, despite the online backlash.
Erin Molan (right) has spearheaded Channel Nine’s Friday night coverage this season
‘Wow didn’t realise so many misogynist people on here. I didn’t realise you cannot feature on male sport without playing the game even though you have completed a university degree in journalism. How dare she have an opinion or ask footballers question. It’s 2019 for God sakes,’ one supporter posted.
Another added: ‘Let’s face it… Erin is an expert of the game, a true professional.’
Johns did his best to shut down speculation of the rumoured rift.
‘Where did you hear that from? Good old rugby league just thrives on rumours and innuendo,’ the rugby league immortal told The Sunday Telegraph.
Channel Nine’s director of sport Tom Malone added ‘There are plenty of people in TV who get on with each other and others who don’t. This is not a story.’
Many fans would rather see Andrew Johns (pictured with his partner Kate and daughter) in the Channel Nine commentary box than Erin Molan
Andrew Johns has been inundated with online support, despite denied reports of a rift
Daily Mail Australia contacted Ms Molan for comment, who passed the inquiry onto Channel Nine’s publicity department.
‘As this is a nonsense story, we won’t be commenting,’ a spokesman said.
Channel Nine promoted earlier this year that Johns would be an integral part of the network’s Friday night league coverage throughout the 2019 season alongside host Molan.
But Johns suddenly disappeared from Friday night coverage mid season without explanation and was replaced by retired NRL star Billy Slater.
It isn’t the first time Channel Nine has been rocked by reports of a rift between the pair.
Johns also disappeared from the NRL Footy Show panel mid season last year after Molan replaced popular long-time host Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin in a shock axing.
The Logie-winning sports show was axed at the end of last season after 25 years due to a ratings slump.
First aired in 1994, the show won 11 Logies as Australia’s most popular sports show.
Johns also disappeared from Channel Nine screens last year after Molan became host of the NRL Footy Show, which was later axed due to a ratings slump