Almanac (Footy) Musing: On Footy Commentary




The muse is musing…on footy commentary:





It’s been a beautiful spring day in our fair City which unfortunately is still locked down as a consequence of the need to show an abundance of caution based on expert medical advice.  I enjoyed a couple of Abbotts longnecks tonight, rolled a Capstan ready-rubbed and commenced to muse on the benefits of watching football on television rather than attending the game. Frankly,  I am not a good TV watcher but in these times I have gained some solace from the amazing insights I have been given by the ‘expert ‘ commentators.  I will share a few insights with you which I have gleaned from people who know and understand the game far better than I could expect.  I must say I appreciate the people who know the game repeating these things just in case my tiny brain hasn’t grasped the things they feel I need to know in order to fully understand football.


Max Gawn was a pizza delivery driver.


Max Gawn got sprung smoking a Craven A Cork Tipped driving down the freeway on the way to training. (By the way, I respect Max for that as it would have been really poor form to be sprung rolling a Havelock ready-rubbed while steering with his knees.)


Bailey Smith has 235,000 Twitter followers which places him fourth behind other AFL players Dusty, Paddy Danger and Nadia Bartel. Bailey has more Twitter followers than the Richmond and Collingwood Football Clubs .


Speaking of Baileys the Bulldogs have three Baileys: Dale, Williams and Smith. Next week there will be four Baileys in the Grand Final as we can add Fritch to the list. [Can anyone recall another Bailey in the Grand Final? – Ed] Methinks this is amazing so I rang Gill and suggested that a special banner should be erected for the four Baileys to run through and whilsethey were doing that the big screen could show Satchmo and the Dukes of Dixieland singing ‘Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey’:


Won’t you come home Bill Bailey, won’t you come home

I’ve moaned the whole night long

I’ll do the cooking, honey I’ll pay the rent

I know I done you wrong


Gill wasn’t keen and mumbled something about political correctness but I reminded him of the time Fat Andy and himself thought it was a good idea to pay Mr M. Loaf  $1m+ to sing. He is now warming to my idea. Sorry, I digress, but watch the space; I think my idea has wings .


Tom Libbas dad Tony played for the Bulldogs.

Jack Viney’s dad Todd played for the Demons.

Lachie Hunter’s dad played for the Bulldogs.


The experts, however, failed to tell us that Laitham Vandermeer’s dad played for Mooroopna.


Young Bowey from Melbourne is a clone of Caleb Daniel uuummm?


Great credit to Petracca: two years ago he got himself fit and is now fulfilling his talent .


Luke Jackson has a basketball background and that’s why he is so good below his knees.


A bloke at Collingwood. Scott Somebody. is the same – according to the experts. I have no idea of the relevance of that so I assume it means they can trim their toenails while watching TV and sending tweets to their fellow ornithophiles.


Jack McCrae [God bless him] has accrued more than 30 possessions etc.etc.etc.


Young Spargo is a fourth generation VFL/AFL Player.


The Demons made a great decision to hang on to Tom McDonald…uuumm…hard to sell a car if nobody wants to buy it


Seriously, how does that tripe enhance the viewing experience. My perfect football commentary team would be Richie Benaud and Dennis Cometti . Jeez, Dennis could call the footy brilliantly as usual, and Richie could chime in with things like ‘that’s a beautiful move, Bontempelli has done him, Oliver had no idea where he was going ,you wont see a better goal than that ‘


I did think the commentary was better last weekend  because the A team, BT and  James Brayshaw, were in quarantine in order to call the Grand Final. I use the descriptor ‘A’ loosely and frankly Brayshaw has disappointed me most. Jeez, as a career enhancer BT could have been to Brayshaw as Alan Bond was to Kerry Packer. All he had to do was call in a less hysterical tone. Unfortunately we now have two hysterical callers who are determined not to let the visual facts get in the way of their act.


James, please, someone running fast is running fast or sprinting he is not putting on the jets or the after-burners. Luke Jackson is Jackson not Lukie Jack – and he is not the only player you invent a mummy name for. I worry you have gone through life aspiring to be called Jimmy Bray and it hasn’t happened for you.


I do appreciate the insights provided by Justin Leppitsch who is current and knowledgeable and prepared to wait his turn to speak. Same for Daisy Pearce. Really it’s a pity Daisy isn’t a bloke because that’s what it might take to get these blokes to give her more time to tell us what she thinks.


Now the most insightful thing I have heard this year from a commentator and I quote:


‘The ball is being thrown in on the wing which doesn’t afford either team an advantage because it’s equidistant from both teams goals ‘


Who said that?


Hint : Boy oh Boy, wowee, how about that!


Please God can I watch games live next year.


Oh well, eight sleeps to go until The Big Dance. Jeez the Dogs are about to dance for the second time in six years and all I can say is boy oh boy, wowee,  can  you believe that!


Covered a bit of territory to get there, but we made our bed with the three end of season losses and I know  we will give it a crack. That’s the Bulldogs way .


Go Dogs

Cede nullis.


Cheers All

Hayden Kelly




Read more from Hayden Kelly HERE




The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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  1. Daryl Schramm says

    The perfect opportunity to soak up the games’ noise without banal, time filling commentary from the same vision we have on our recliners. I’m over it. As I sit here at AO at half time of the first semi, I can’t hear myself think as I type for the racquet from the loudspeakers. Over that too.

  2. Hayden Kelly says

    I agree
    Every year the Bulldogs send me a survey as a player sponsor regarding my match day experience . Every year I tell them my match day experience would be enhanced if I wasn’t assaulted by unwanted noise at every break in play .
    If they sent the same survey to my 7 year old grand daughter who is waiting patiently for Bont or McCrae or Smith to propose to her no doubt the response would be crank up the noise during breaks in play .

  3. Peter Fuller says

    Well done Hayden.
    I think you missed an opportunity to get your Baileys banner across the line; you might have suggested to Gil the product placement marketing opportunity with a Baileys’ Cream sponsorship.
    I hope the Doggies fire for you next Saturday.

  4. Yes, Muse, you will find fellow travellers across the Almanac firmament with this one. Run out of tarmac is a common one. Can’t find the handle.

    But I think it’s the subtext which viewers find off-putting.

  5. Thanks, Hayden.
    My twitter feed would totally agree with you.
    These blokes are chumps.
    Leppitsch moving to the Collingwood coaching box will be a huge loss to commentary next year.
    Daisy is a fine analyst.

  6. Leppitsch has always been impressive I reckon. We did some radio together in Brisbane – when he was still playing. He always made a lot of sense. Lethal would sound him out, to get his thoughts on ideas.

  7. Hayden Kelly says

    We could go on forever with this .I did leave the Private School stuff out because Smokie is all over that . Sorry i didn’t put in how alive and well manufacturing is in Victoria given
    Calder Canons are a football factory
    Sandy Dragons are a football factory etc etc .
    I am really looking forward to Caleb Daniels the Bulldogs quarterback and Salem the Dees quarterback throwing 80 metre perfect passes to Naughton and Benny Brown on Saturday .

    Cede Nullis

  8. Shane Johnson says

    Leppa first rate
    Daisy too
    A yes on Richo as well
    Jobe out of his depth
    Don’t mind Hamish
    Not keen at all on the other JB ( Bennett I think it is)
    No fan of BT but he has played at the level at least
    In the minority I know but I don’t mind Jimmy Bray for his quick wit and sense of humour
    Let’s hope it is a classic Saterdee!!

  9. Hey Hayden (and everyone)
    Worked with BT – he’s a really lovely bloke – but dear god in heaven he’s a lazy, inaccurate caller. Infuriating. Since switching to vision on TV and audio on ABC radio (includes Ling and Malthouse), the experience is infinitely easier. BT, I sense, doesn’t really like football. His calls mock the game, and so instantly release the tension and enjoyment for the serious footy watcher. I sense he hasn’t much more to say other than state the obvious or grab the stat sheet. It’s astonishing how often he calls the wrong player.
    McLachlan’s next up on my list of blokes not to run into at the servo. He’s a suit, an adman, a Channel 7 salesman. If you pay attention, he never tells you it how it is, or provides insight. Just sugar coats what you can see, and stays firmly in the eastern suburbs don’t want to offend anyone personality. He’s the king of the small smile and must be the happiest man on earth. He relentlessly speaks positives because his audience is the so called ‘theatre-goers’ who are just watching for a laugh, because they’ve heard there’s a ruckman called Max who has a big beard.
    It’s so easy to criticise – calling would be a hard talent to learn, but most would be so much better if they had the discipline to just shut up (irony!) and understand storytelling. Give the audience what they can’t see. Not speaking says a lot, allows the viewer to think. Newish caller Mark Howard is wonderful at this – he has really terrific timing and isn’t yearning to be heard. He ‘gets’ it.

    Ultimately, realising that Ch 7 is a commercial network pitching to all people, whether they’re into footy or not, makes it all understandable.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent, this freezing Tuesday morning. D’s by 34.

  10. I gave up on the TV talkers when Dennis pulled the pin. Bruce went down hill after that and Taylor is simply atrocious for all the reasons quoted above. The solution? Mute the telly, tune into the radio . It can take a bit of fiddling to synch vision with audio due to the delay but with time shift on smart tvs or pause on Kayo/Foxtel it’s quite doable. Then you have the choice of Gerard on SEN, Al Nicholson & co on ABC (although you have to put up with the Malthouse-negativity factor) or Tim Lane and Tony Leonard on 3 AW, all vastly better options than Taylor and Co. or for a bit of light relief, try K-Rock.

  11. Daryl Schramm says

    Tony. My point exactly. Give the audience what they CAN’T see. In covid times, they can’t do that, so just call the players names (accurately) and shut up FFS. Unfortunately I’m technically deficient at the synching thingo so when covid goes I’m still stuffed! And as for BT (and others) espousing knowledge on laws and umpiring, it is often wrong but those listening, that don’t know either, think it’s right. Big problem.

  12. does anyone remember Doug Heywood? He would simply name the player who had or was competing for the ball, interspersed with a “good mark” “missed what he should have taken” etc. Lots of silence so you could watch the game and make up your own mind about what was happening
    l only half listen most of the time and often end up wondering “who is that”. Unless they play for the mighty Dees, then l can say “go no. 9”

  13. Thanks Drizzle

    Apparently the Dees haven’t won a flag for quite a few years, you’d think a commentator would have mentioned that somewhere long the way

    And i caught a passing snippet that there was a 15m penalty of some significance in 1987, but that never got referred to again


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