Inside the mind of a footy groupie

By Stephen Drill
Herald-Sun
May 24, 2009
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SHE says she has had sex with up to 200 AFL players in the past 12 years.

But she doesn’t care what people might call her, much less think about her – she has no regrets and is far from ashamed by what many would call degrading behaviour.

Late-night phone calls from AFL players asking for sex, drunken – and sometimes drug-fuelled – group sex with up to 12 players at a time and a notorious reputation are all part of the life of a footy groupie.

The woman is in her 30s and asked to be identified publicly as “Amy”.

In two lengthy face-to-face interviews with the Sunday Herald Sun, she spoke widely of her encounters with AFL players and the group sex culture within footy.

She also strongly defended the players she has been involved with.

Her identity is known to many in AFL circles and she said she still received regular text messages from players asking for sex.

The Sunday Herald Sun confirmed a number of AFL club presidents were aware of her sexual involvement with footballers.

Outraged by the treatment of former NRL star and TV personality Matthew Johns, Amy said judgmental attitudes about sex had to end and what happened in people’s private lives was their own business.

But a leading academic questioned the culture of group sex among AFL players.

University of Melbourne gender expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne said it was difficult for a woman to provide consent in group-sex situations.

“There are 12 men in the room and none of them has asked themselves, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’,” Dr Rosewarne said.

Amy criticised a New Zealand woman who spoke to the ABC’s Four Corners this month about a group-sex incident with Johns and other Cronulla Sharks players seven years ago.

“I want to come out and defend the guys. I find it appalling this woman would speak out and exploit other people,” said Amy, who provided a statutory declaration – witnessed by a policeman – to the Sunday Herald Sun to support her story.

Amy said she enjoyed group sex because she liked being the centre of attention and knew there were no strings attached.

She said she had never felt degraded by being the play-thing of a room full of men. Instead, she said, it had made her feel “powerful”.

“(Group sex) is not just an NRL thing, it’s not just an AFL thing, it’s a male culture,” she said.

Amy knows the consequences of being outed as a woman involved in group sex.

She has worked for a number of AFL clubs in administration and back office roles, but said she had been sacked from more than one club for having casual relationships with players.

She said she would not publicly name the players she had slept with.

“No one has a right to ruin people’s families,” she said.

But she said she did not regret sleeping with married players and argued it was a private matter between them and their wives if the men were cheating on them.

“I was single, I never cheated on anybody,” she said.

Amy revealed a culture of group sex in the AFL, claiming she’d had sex with up to 12 players from the same club at the one time.

She said she’d had group encounters with players from many AFL clubs, which she identified to the Sunday Herald Sun.

She said she would meet groups of players in hotel rooms, at players’ homes and sometimes at her sharehouses.

“But it was always consensual and they always treated me with respect,” she said.

Amy said she had enjoyed group sex with footballers because she wanted to be wanted by such fit, powerful men.

She said group sex was attractive because she knew it was purely a physical act.

Amy said the group-sex sessions had not involved alcohol about 60 per cent of time. Often it was mid-week, after players’ training sessions.

She said having group sex meant it was clear there was no chance of an ongoing relationship, which meant players could not “break her heart”.

“It was a little bit of fun. I liked being the centre of attention,” she said.

“The next day I would wake up and get on with my life and have something to talk about with the girls over coffee.”

Amy said she had no regrets about her encounters.

“I’m not embarrassed that it happened to me,” she said.

“I didn’t get emotionally attached. They were great people to hang out with, but I knew nothing would ever eventuate from it. But I wasn’t looking for a footballer as a boyfriend anyway.”

She said the boyfriends who did break her heart – those she regretted being involved with – had not been AFL players.

Amy said she started meeting AFL footballers in 1997.

“(I have slept with) about 150 to 200. I used to keep a diary but I lost that. I didn’t put what the list was about, it just had names in it. I stopped counting about five years ago.”

She said she had ongoing relationships with several players; others she labelled as “one-offs”.

Amy said group sex was common with AFL players, but said it also happened in other sectors of Victorian community.

During group sessions, Amy would meet players in a room and they would take turns.

Although she said her encounters were safe, she said she was often drunk and was unsure how long the encounters had lasted. She admitted to using drugs at times during some of the encounters.

But she said she was never paid for sex, nor was she was offered any money.

Amy is a former school captain and dux of several subjects in her final year.

She started meeting AFL players when she moved from country Victoria to Melbourne 12 years ago.

She said she loved football and had always wanted to be involved with the industry.

She said women should take a more liberal attitude towards sex.

“I’m all for equality; guys can get a notch on their belts, why can’t I?” she said. “There is still a double standard in football.”

Amy said no AFL player had ever been disrespectful or forced her into any sexual act.

She said she practised safe sex.

But she said she was upset that some players had passed her mobile number on to their friends.

She said she would often receive “booty calls” from people she did not know, asking for sex.

“I never rang anyone, they always rang me. I don’t do the whole booty call thing,” she said.

But Amy said there were some predatory women in football circles. Women would “stalk” players on social networking site Facebook, she said.

They would find out where the players drank and turn up at the pubs looking for attention.

But Amy questioned the motives of some of her fellow groupies.

“They are only doing it for money, they want their profiles enhanced,” she said.

“I have seen girls lined up to jump into their beds.”

As part of this interview, Amy agreed to be photographed and provided her resume, which included prominent AFL identities and former players as referees.

Referees contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun confirmed they knew Amy and her employment record.

Amy said she had declined offers of money from TV stations and magazines to speak about her lifestyle.

Details of her encounters emerged after an AFL player passed on her number to a radio station about a month ago.

During an off-air interview, she is believed to have named players she had slept with.

But she said after the interview, she had second thoughts and asked the station to remove names from the interview if it was to run.

The radio station decided not to run the interview.

Station management this week confirmed the contents of the interview, saying the woman discussed many sexual encounters with AFL players.

A football figure tipped off the Sunday Herald Sun to the radio interview. A separate football source said several people had privately listened to the interview.

When approached by the Sunday Herald Sun, Amy was happy to speak. She was not paid for the interview.

A senior official at a Victorian AFL club, who did not want to be named, confirmed Amy was well known in football circles, as was the radio interview.

“We’ve basically been made aware of it. But I’m not sure any players at our club have been affected by it,” he said.

The manager said he had addressed his club’s players about the allegations, using the opportunity to discuss the Johns issue and responsibilities players faced.

DR ROSEWARNE, author of the soon-to-be-released book Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism and Sex in Public, said she was concerned about the psychology of group sex.

And the NRL’s gender adviser, Prof Catharine Lumby, said group sex that involved one woman and a group of men put the woman in a “high-risk” situation.

“If the men go into the encounter with any aggression, the women can be used as a kind of football,” Prof Lumby said.

“They become an object that can be exchanged by the men in a bonding experience. I’m concerned it can be damaging for some women.”

Prof Lumby said consent was a complicated issue in group-sex situations.

“Every person has to have consent from her,” she said.

“There has to be an ethical approach to it and they must make sure the woman is not blamed, shamed or damaged for being involved in the sex.

“The people involved should ask if the woman has been made a joke of.”

Prof Lumby said group sex was a divisive issue.

She said: “It is clear that many people in the community have strong moral views about group sex, but it does remain legal if it’s consensual.”

Prof Lumby said she was concerned that women who chose to engage in group sex were judged as “second rate”.

But Prof Lumby said it was unfair for Amy to criticise the New Zealand woman, “Clare”, involved in the Johns scandal.

Clare had the right to express her views on what had happened, just as Amy was entitled to share her experiences without being judged, she added.

Dr Rosewarne said group sex among AFL players – where several men had sex with one woman – raised questions about the motivations of the men involved.

“The woman’s body is the vessel that these players are bonding over,” she said.

“They are having sex with the one woman one after the other – there’s something quite homo-erotic about that. Their arousal is coming from more than just the woman; it’s coming from the idea of having sex in the presence of other men.”

Dr Rosewarne said society had decided to turn a blind eye to group sex among sports stars because it raised difficult moral questions.

And group sex among sports stars was not confined to the elite ranks.

Dr Rosewarne said she was aware of it happening in university football teams as well.

She said any woman who came out and spoke about being involved in group sex was judged harshly, particularly by other women.

“Women can be their own worst enemies. They are judgmental against women, particularly when it comes to sexual behaviour,” she said.

Dr Rosewarne said the concept of consent in group sex was difficult.

“Does a woman ever actually have the power (in group sex) to say, ‘No, I want this to stop?’,” she asked. “On the one hand it’s not rape, but there are a lot of issues we don’t want to talk about there.”

But Amy said she had never been raped and was always a willing participant, even after drinking.

Amy said she was always in control of the situations in which she found herself.

Recently unemployed, Amy said she still wanted to work in the football industry but her reputation saw her applications knocked back.

Amy said her last group sex encounter with AFL players was 18 months ago.

Now she wants to settle down and have a family.

She has had only two serious boyfriends, with the longest relationship lasting six months.

But she said she hoped her past would not be a barrier to becoming a wife and a mother.

“It’s only been in the past five years that I have been thinking that, because I absolutely adore and love kids,” she said.

“As you get older, your priorities change, your focuses in life change.”