Sam Kerr at centre of heated clash between Candice Warner and Robbie Slater

Sam Kerr surpassed Tim Cahill for the most goals scored for Australia last year, but Robbie Slater has been criticised for his response.

Robbie Slater, Sam Kerr, and Candice Warner.
Robbie Slater's suggestion Sam Kerr's goalscoring record for Australia is 'not equal' to male counterpart Tim Cahill's was labelled 'sexist' by both Kerr and Candice Warner. Pictures: Fox Sports/Getty Images

Australian football great Robbie Slater has defended a memorable column in which he declared Sam Kerr's record for the most goals scored by an Australian was 'not equal' to Tim Cahill's prior benchmark, after Kerr labelled it 'literally the most sexist thing you could say'. Slater wrote the column back in January 2022, saying it 'just doesn't work' to draw a comparison between the pair.

The column provoked a strong reaction at the time, but it has resurfaced after the release of a documentary about the Matildas' preparation for the World Cup. In one episode, Kerr discusses the article, prompting Warner bringing it up once again on Fox Sports.

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However, Slater has stood by the piece, describing it as 'balanced'. He did admit though, that the substantial criticism hadn't just come from readers and football fans - his own daughters had not looked upon the piece favourably. But Warner challenged him after he stood by the piece, saying he was 'out of line' and should have reconsidered it since.

“Robbie, I don’t really agree with you,” Warner said. “I thought it was out of line. You’ve got two young daughters. I thought it was incredibly sexist."

Slater said he had no regrets about the column, but conceded his daughter - a huge fan of Kerr - had not been particularly fond of his opinion that there was no comparison between Cahill's feats for the Socceroos and Kerr's for the Matildas.

“I don’t regret the column because I stand by that I separated Tim Cahill from Sam Kerr and said Tim’s our greatest ever Socceroo goalscorer and Sam is our greatest ever women’s goalscorer," he said. “I don’t think that was out of line.

“But if I listened to my 9 year old daughter, maybe I did do wrong. She came up to me and said, ‘Dad, what have you done to Sam Kerr, she’s so much better than you?’ She’s got a poster of Sam Kerr on the wall.

“I’ve had to answer some questions. But I think the column was balanced.”

Amusingly, Slater was interrupted as he continued to make his point about separating the achievements of men's and women's players by a text message from his daughter. He read out that she had jokingly texted him to say he was 'still a loser' as a result.

Chelsea not concerned about Sam Kerr injury scare

Meanwhile, Chelsea FC have moved to ease injury fears over Kerr after the striker played barely half an hour of their 7-0 win over Everton. Kerr scored a header in the 25th minute on Sunday but was withdrawn seven minutes later, sparking injury concerns about Australia's talismanic captain less than two-and-a-half months out from the home Women's World Cup.

But manager Emma Hayes said Kerr had been dealing with calf cramp after being ill on Saturday night. "Sam was sick last night," Hayes said on Sunday after the 7-0 win over Everton that moved Chelsea into second place in the English Women's Super League.

Sam Kerr is attended to by a Chelsea trainer.
Chelsea have brushed off an injury concern for Sam Kerr after their 7-0 thumping of Everton. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

"She decided to play but her calf was cramping up so we decided to take her out."

Kerr, who has 10 goals and four assists from 18 WSL games this season, had spent Saturday at the coronation of King Charles III in London, carrying the Australian flag in the procession into Westminster Abbey.

With AAP

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