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Abbey Holmes sends her fans a message after footy star turned TV commentator was caught up in furore over ‘inappropriate’ on-screen kiss with Lachie Neale

Abbey Holmes has sent a heartfelt message to her fans after the TV presenter caused controversy by sharing a post-match kiss with double Brownlow medalist Lachie Neale.

Brisbane Lions superstar Neale was interviewed by Holmes after the Lions played the Bulldogs in Round 13, but it was how the interview ended that made headlines.

Holmes interviewed an exhausted Neale as they both leaned in for a quick kiss on the cheek after their conversation was over.

The pair, who are friends off the pitch, have since sparked debate over whether the kiss was inappropriate or not, with some commentators believing a line was crossed.

Holmes took to social media on Tuesday night to thank her fans for all their support.

Abbey Holmes (photo) thanked her followers for their support over the past week

Abbey Holmes (photo) thanked her followers for their support over the past week

1718761517 486 Abbey Holmes sends her fans a message after footy star

1718761517 486 Abbey Holmes sends her fans a message after footy star

‘Always focused. Thanks for the love this week folks. I heard you,” she posted on Instagram.

Holmes’ followers were quick to respond with words of encouragement.

“You are great at your job and a remarkable human being,” replied Emma Hawkins, wife of Geelong superstar Tom Hawkins.

“Was shocked by the reaction to a kiss on the cheek between friends,” wrote another.

‘Ignore the media. Keep it up girl,” a third replied.

Speaking on Channel 9 on Monday morning for the Bank of Queensland’s ‘Vehicle for Kindness’ campaign, Neale said: ‘The fact that it has come up a week later is a bit strange. I actually didn’t know anything about it until recently. It comes as a bit of a surprise.”

Holmes, a former AFLW player, also responded on Monday, describing the response as “really disturbing”.

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She said Neale’s wife, Jules, checked in to see if she was okay following the online outrage.

Abbey Holmes (pictured) and Lachie Neale have caused controversy with a simple kiss on the cheek after an interview

Abbey Holmes (pictured) and Lachie Neale have caused controversy with a simple kiss on the cheek after an interview

Abbey Holmes (pictured) and Lachie Neale have caused controversy with a simple kiss on the cheek after an interview

Lions star Lachie Neale (pictured) is friends with Holmes off the pitch

Lions star Lachie Neale (pictured) is friends with Holmes off the pitch

Lions star Lachie Neale (pictured) is friends with Holmes off the pitch

“Jules Neale … ​​sent me a message this morning saying, ‘I hope you’re doing well – this is ridiculous,’” Holmes shared News Corp.

“I’m like, ‘Mate, I know. Lachie is a friend of mine.’

Holmes also spoke about the kiss on LiSTNR’s “Footy Talk” podcast, saying, “It’s really frustrating for me.” Lachie is a good friend of mine, so that’s just something you do: greet your friends.

‘Whether that’s a hug or a kiss on the cheek. The fact that this has been blown out of proportion to the actual incident itself. It’s really disturbing to me.

‘I don’t want to spend too much time on it, because for me it’s not a story. And this is not the first time that a player with whom I have a good relationship has given me a hug or a kiss.

“I’ve worked so hard for so long now to build relationships, build trust, build a bond with these players and coaches and make them feel like they’re in a very safe space when they’re with me . And that’s probably what upset me the most.

“I don’t want my friends to feel awkward about the way they’re going to greet me or say goodbye to me. That’s not fair. I just feel like [it was] was massively blown out of proportion.’

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Three-time premiership-winning Brisbane Lions coach Leigh Matthews also joined in, defending them for the seemingly innocent act.

“You assume that they know each other very well,” he told 3AW.

‘Because normally you only give a kiss on the cheek to someone you know very well, otherwise you shake their hand.

‘I would shake hands with a woman I don’t know very well. The kiss on the cheek is normally for someone you know very well. I don’t know how well they know each other.

“I assume they know each other very well, otherwise it’s something very special and that’s why we’re talking about it.”

Matthews went on to say that he had never seen the move after a match before.

‘It’s a first. I’ve never seen it before. Have you ever seen that? That’s why we’re talking about it. It’s quite unusual.’

Holmes said Neale's wife Jules messaged her to check in because of the 'ridiculous' response

Holmes said Neale's wife Jules messaged her to check in because of the 'ridiculous' response

Holmes said Neale’s wife Jules messaged her to check in because of the ‘ridiculous’ response

Journalist Kate Halfpenny commented on the kiss in a recent column in The age.

“The interaction was quick and not annoying, but it was weird enough for my husband and I to be like, ‘wait, what?’” she wrote.

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‘This was rare, TV talent kissed or was kissed as a sign of farewell. You have to go back to Bec Judd who deflected from Tony Jones’ attempted hug in 2016 after her latest news bulletin.’

Halfpenny wondered if it was a good idea to kiss friends at work.

“But even if they’re best friends, is it a good idea to say hasta manana with a kiss when they’re both at work? For me it was too familiar,” she wrote.

“Place and time, folks. You’re making money from this chat, so keep it classy, ​​San Diego.

‘Intrigued, I watched the kiss a few more times. Neither side seemed uncomfortable.

‘The incident has not caused a stir in the media or on social media. But at a time when former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales is facing sexual assault charges for his creepy unsolicited kiss on World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, I think it’s worth asking the kiss question.”

Footy fans online have also made their views known on the issue, with opinions divided on the subject.

‘Very inappropriate for the female interviewer to kiss Lachie Neale. What would happen if a male interviewer did this to a woman? Appalling unprofessional behavior from the female interviewer,” one fan posted on X.

“Did Abbey Holmes state that Lachie Neal’s kiss on the cheek was inappropriate or offensive? No? Stfu and myob,” another posted.

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