Calling the Callers: Hawks Christmas revue.

(Disclaimer for Peter. B: there will be Hawkporn)

Between being at the football and a broadcast, there is an abyss. Nothing beats the live atmosphere and the broad point of view. Nevertheless, I was fairly raised watching football on television, so the ‘real’ and the reproduction are inextricably linked. A flash of brilliance in the realm, calls to mind how it looks and sounds on T.V.

There was a recent article in the Sunday Herald Sun about the coming wave; GPS type data on force, speed, leaps and the like. Before losing interest, I noted:


‘What happens in all sports is that spectators are fixated on that little bit of space that the ball is in or around at that particular time. But actually a lot of what happened in the game that impacts the outcome is what players are doing just behind or just I front of where the ball is…Coaches know that, but spectators and viewers don’t always appreciate that…’[1]


I’m not sure the spectator is fixated on ‘that little bit of space the ball is in’ as much as the Director. It is the bread and butter view. Long, wide or full shots are more in the replays, stoppages and kick ins. Overall, the pictures present well and close-ups enable a little light lip reading. Not sure the evolution of goal line, hat, naval, sky or guy on an electric scooter adds much besides motion sickness.

And then there is the soundtrack.

Obviously, the 2014 Grand Final was a brilliant day for Hawthorn supporters, the kind you don’t want to end. A DVD allows a little pig in mud rolling.

On the day, there were a cornucopia of moments to think, ‘How was that covered by media?’ If I had to narrow it down to one, it was Will Langford’s freak (third) goal, 23 minutes into the third quarter; the dribbling kick from the boundary vaulting over a hapless defender.

In the interests of research, I commissioned myself to review the television and radio broadcasts of the 2014 Grand Final, in songs and vignettes. A knowing nod to the talking heads, at Christmas, including general and ‘specific’ analysis, with respect to their portrayal of Langford’s third.

It was a massive undertaking, requiring many hours of sitting through the Grand Final over and over. Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted[2].


“Annie Get Your Gun” – Channel 7 (Bruce, Dennis, Leigh, Tom et al.)

General review:

The AFL’s television broadcaster began their call with Parker praised by Dennis and Kennedy noted as famous Hawthorn name, by Bruce (‘six premierships between his father and grandfather’). Leigh Matthews didn’t hold back when referring to Grundy’s as a ‘terrible error’ and Harley noted the early intensity around the footy was with Hawthorn.

Bruce talked up Gunston’s accuracy and then when he missed referred to him ‘famously missing’ in 2012 Grand Final; a bit each way there. However, Bruce’s call of Langford’s first (the one over the shoulder) had a prescient feel, ‘Poppy flies, they all fly… Langford’s gonna kick a goal and Hawthorn get five in the opening term…’

In the midst of second quarter mayhem, Dennis compared Suckling’s switch to ‘Stevie J’. It lacked neither context nor a patent on the kick and arguably riled two sets of audience. Geelong supporters (watching) would not have warmed to a comparison with Suckling – who they may not know exists – any more than a reminder that Stevie was not out there. Hawk idolaters are well versed in Suckling’s searing left and our favorite Stevie is Stevie Ray Vaughan.

When Langford kicked his second (in the second, the one on-the-run), there is a cutaway to the Hawthorn crowd. My eye is drawn to a woman in a Hawthorn jumper (left of screen) who jumps up and down in excitement, four times, and then freezes on the spot. In her frozen moment, I feel an uncommon meeting of minds. Is it 4:00a.m? Am I dreaming?

Hodge intercepts and goals to Bruce’s, “He can feel the cup in his hands now’, but Sydney kick the next two and Bruce one-eighties, ‘It’s only a couple of goals but you feel like one more before half time and they could give themselves a real shot here’’.

Bruce called ‘the Hand of Rioli’, ‘That’s Cyril, that’s what he does’, while Dennis made an unmerited comparison between Cyril and Simpkin. Subsequently, when Cyril smothered Tippet in the third, Bruce summed up ‘Rioli’s done him again, for the second time!

Specific Review – Langford’s third goal:


Langford worrying (Kennedy) and — goal! He’s kicked a third and that tops them all — goal of…the Grand Final’.

A pass mark. 

Back to General Review:

In the final quarter, Bruce was in a statasphere as Leigh told-it-like-it-was; Sydney could salvage ‘nothing’ from here. Tom Harley was complimentary (in the Qualifying final, against his Cats, he fell into a staccato rhythm, repeating 4 times ‘you need to play two hard hours to beat the Hawks’), while Dennis completed an indifferent day with, “the dress code around the footy has been ‘yellow’ and brown today’” – an unforced error I would have expected from an opposition supporter. Dennis finished with mixed metaphor, pun or spoonerism, ‘Familiarity breeds defence’. It was no cork in the ocean.

I’ll give 7 a 6.


“All that Jazz” – 3AW (B.T, Tim Lane, Tony Shaw and Matthew Lloyd)

General Review:

Brian Taylor began with, ‘If Pike becomes a duel premiership player, boy! What about that?’ Bias upfront, I find B.T and easy listening go together like tooth paste and orange juice. There was an article[3] earlier in the year suggesting the object of 7’s Saturday night coverage was to mimic an evening with your mates in the living room. If true, it’s another case of completely missing the target audience. I will go out on a limb that groups of ‘mates’ don’t stay in on Saturday night for B.T and Darce. Families and supporters of a certain age do. They are turning the sound down in preference for Jazz or Katy Perry. They need Pseudo mates, like they need Pseudo Echo. I’m happy to be engaged on the point, but it follows good authority that waking up with Sunrise is not having breakfast with friends.

Roughead’s tackle of Hanneberry was described by B.T as, “tackle of the year”, Matthew Lloyd put it best: “That tackle is worth five possessions.

With Hawthorn in early ascendancy, B.T came clean, “Not many picked them (Hawthorn), let’s be honest…” Lloyd noted, “Sydney haven’t been under so much pressure in a game this year … (Hawthorn) have got them under siege.” and Tony Shaw added that time inside 50 was 62 to 38%.

At quarter-time, Tim Lane sensed the moment, “The Brown and Gold clad army rising from their seats…”

As Bruest kicked the first goal of the second quarter, Matthew Lloyd observed, “Sam Reid moved to defence …been very, very poor in attack 2 disposals… that’s the problem, Grand Final day things are exposed and also Gary Rohan struggling…26 to eight inside 50’s…midfield is getting smashed”.

Tony Shaw remarked, (Sydney) are a rabble at the moment, they don’t know how to cope with this…” and from Tim Lane, “Will Langford has two and Hawthorn lead by 34 points, it wasn’t meant to be like this… Hawthorn … have hit hard and often and they are shaking the life out of the Sydney Swans”.

Sydney responded with consecutive goals, putting B.T on the wrong train, “I’m tellin’ you boys, I know you don’t agree with me, but Sydney are coming” (Swans 35-points down).

In the third, Lloyd appreciated Cyril nearly as much as I do, “It’s the little things he does and he has done so many of them in this game.” 

On the day, I thought ‘play of the day’ was the ‘kick-tap-handball’ by Roughead-Mitchell-Hodge, culminating in a goal for Suckling. Tim Lane called it with the words and tonality,“ …Gives to Suckling, around the corner, goal, goal, goal! Hawthorn just too good. That was consummate.”

Tony Shaw initially surprised when he said “Brad Hill will be captain of Hawthorn one day. His work ethic is highly rated by Hawthorn people, (he) wants to lead.” I like it and hope it happens.

Still in the third, the AW ‘s digressed a little, into whether Reid and Goodes were playing their last games for the Swans. A little earlier B.T was retiring Lake – commentary buzz kill. B.T felt the need to tell us twice who was giving the votes for the Norm Smith medal – commentary over kill.

Specific Review:

(Tim Lane)

“Langford’s got it. Oh surely not. He can’t have kicked a goal from there. He has….Langford’s kicked 3 and all of them have been unbelievable goals….(score given)… It is miracle time…”


Back to General Review:

Tim Lane, “The Buddy factor has worked itself in reverse. Hawthorn have steeled themselves for the performance of their collective lives.”

Tony Shaw, “Their midfield’s been smashed…(a stat reveals an extra 85 uncontested possessions in midfield to Hawthorn)”.

Tim Lane was enjoying Langford, “…Kicks to Langford who shakes himself out of a tackle, looks like a Choirboy, plays like Superman….” If he had slipped that into his call of Langford’s third I would have rounded-up to a Distinction.

B.T: “Tippo says I’m a big man, put in the air, because I’m against a dwarf in Mitchell…” B.T manages the risk between his whimsy and a short absence from duties.

Matthew Lloyd: “He’s an ‘outside forward’, Sam Reid.” (?)

Tony Shaw: (On Burgoyne) “He’s one of the greatest recruits I reckon I’ve seen in AFL football for over a decade.”

B.T turned provocateur with, “So Buddy has effectively traded a premiership, for 10 mill. Is that a good trade Shawy?” Shawy played straight, “He’s given great service to that club, that’s not the issue. He’s had a pretty good day. Well done to Hawthorn, they thoroughly deserve it and they set it up pretty early.”

Shaw had Mitchell, Lewis, Hill and even Gibson before Hodge for the Norm Smith medal, before adding, “…this is going to be a toss up this Norm Smith they might have to make three…”

On the siren, the last word went to Tim Lane, “The Hawks have won a 12th flag. The Bondi billionaires are penniless…”

I’ll give ‘AW’ an 8, for Tim Lane and the ‘Shaw / Lloyd’ special comments were quite special.



“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – SEN (Anthony Hudson, Derm, Laidley, Goddard et al.)

Derm noted Cyril’s early influence, “Cyril hasn’t touched the ball yet, but he’s laid two tackles in 15 seconds”.

Anthony Hudson flip-flopped on Gunston’s accuracy, “Jack Gunston he’s a magnificent goalkicker, 56.24 for the season reflects that… From 25 out (miss) never looked like a goal…tough angle…” Later he prematurely called a Puoplo miss as though going through and, nearing quarter-time, muddled Langford’s first goal, “His Dad played at full forward… (He tried to reverse and amend to full back, but the momentum was lost).

Derm: “The forwards for Hawthorn are giving Sydney more trouble and pressure than they’ve had for a month and they are struggling to acclimatize…”

Dean Laidley: “They are out-swanning the Swans”

In the second quarter, when Langford kicked his second (the one on-the-run) Hudson caught a whiff, “Something’s cooking at the MCG and it smells like Hawthorn.”

Goddard added, “Sydney have no answers at the moment…. They are normally so clean… the pressure from Hawthorn is elite.”

Dermott compared it to the sweet science, “It reminds of a Prize Fighter who has got the title but has had set up fights, soft run ins. Suddenly (he) gets a real challenger who has knocked him on his arse and he doesn’t know how to deal with it…”

On the ‘hand of Rioli’, Hudson said, “That’s why he’s in the team. Those little taps, little nuances of the game (that) Cyril can provide, upset the opposition.” Derm added, “What is Tippet doing thinking he can play sleight of hand against Cyril Rioli?”

In the third quarter, Lake took a big mark over Tippet and Dermott called, “You’ve got to have some confidence, at this stage of the game, to do that… Either confidence or no real understanding of the sport.”

When Roughead goaled, Hudson was unequivocal, “They can’t get them from here! Hawthorn bring up the 100 …”

Specific Review – Langford’s Third goal:

“Langford getting boot to ball, it might go through – Oh! An extraordinary goal from the boundary line…” and then Derm put it best, “Something from nothing”.  It was. Will worked his arse off to fence them in. Nine times out of ten, would have collected nothing. This time, dream pay off.

Something from Nothing’ was still back of mind when, to summon my inner Molly Meldrum, it was the very same title of a new Foo Fighters song released only weeks later. Sharing this with ‘the lovely and indifferent one’ I learned that, as coincidences go, it isI’ who have made something from nothing.                                         I still think Dermott, Dave Grohl and I were on a wavelength.

A credit.


Back to General Review:

From there the steam didn’t go out of the game, as much as out of the commentary. There were cracks at Hudson, who was one of the Norm smith judges; “He’s played well, Huddo”, etc. This continued into the final quarter along with too much discussion about the psychology of a Grand Final loser. Goddard defined the problem as, “You don’t give up, but…. what are you playing for? — Personal pride”. Laidley went straight down the road, “You think, Shit…”

Following Burgoyne’s long goal, Derm remarked, “He is one of the very best finals players I’ve ever laid eyes on, Sean Burgoyne.”

Goddard on McEvoy, “Great reward for all the hard work…leader at St. Kilda, taken across to Hawthorn, some say he’s pretty lucky, but in a lot of ways create (your) own luck…”. Interesting, given respective paths.

Finally, Hudson at the siren, “Back to back glory for the Hawks in the most devastating fashion… they were on a mission and in the end nobody and no Buddy could stop them.”

Derm was the stand out, the others seemed to fatigue: 6.



“The Rocky Horror Show” – Triple-M (Gary Lyon, Brayshaw, Darcy and Frawley).

Triple-M seem cut from 7’s Saturday night playbook.

James Brayshaw and others like to use player nicknames – ‘Malcho’ (Malceski),  ‘the Bud’ and such. These are used with an easy familiarity, as if leading off the cone to them at training.

After Kennedy kicked the first, Brayshaw was a touch inexact with, “They’ve settled beautifully the Swans”.

Gary Lyon described how the Hawks handled Franklin; Lake close to goal, Gibson up the groundand observed Hawthorn’s focus on the Swans ‘in close work’, “14 to four tackles, that was the 14th tackle laid by Bradley Hill … (and it) should have been rewarded with a free kick. (The) Story of the first quarter…”

With 4:45 remaining in the first, Lyon explained, “This great Sydney side… are getting rag dolled and bashed. Big Jarryd Roughead just sat Hanneberry on his backside. Swans don’t know what’s hit them…” (and) “… when you’ve got a 22 to seven tackle (difference) in a quarter… one team’s come and brought it, the other team hasn’t … (it) wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

In the second, Lyon reported that inside 50s were 26 to eight and then added, “I want to see a response from Sydney, do something about it.” Darcy called Hodge’s intercept, “It’s a turnover again. Gaz. Hodge Marks, Hodge goals! What is going on at the MCG? They’ve kicked the last five!”

Another stat disclosed, ‘turnovers inside defensive 50’: Sydney 11, Hawthorn one.

Danny Frawley commented on ‘Hand of Rioli’: ‘They had a little bit of momentum Sydney, now’s not the time to be doing a look away handball…with Cyril Rioli just about to swoop…”

In the third, Lyon sighed, “This is a horror show for Sydney and an absolute stunning exhibition of footy for Hawthorn” and then fathomed how Hawthorn supporters were feeling (at least this one), “You probably didn’t (presume) for a while, because you think 20 points at quarter time, they’ll come back Sydney… from this point on 55 points if you’re a Hawthorn fan start smoking a pipe, open up your very best bottle, kick the shoes off and enjoy the ride (7:54 to go in the third)”

Specific Review:

“Oh, he’s kicked it!”

Darcy: He can’t kick it from there.

Lyon: Bugger off! He’s got three and he’s a story….

That photo of Will Langford will be the enduring memory…”


Back to General Review:

In the final quarter, Lyon was ready to retire off Shaw, “ I reckon Rhyce Shaw might come to the same conclusion (as Luke Ball). He has been torched around the ground today.”

Lyon: “Seven minutes to go in the last quarter, Hawthorn supporters want it to go forever… Heartache for McGlynn, great for Spangher… that’s footy.”

Another stat: ‘Jordan Lewis, 35 disposals the most number of disposals by a Hawthorn player in a Grand Final.’

Lyon: “It has been the day from Heaven (for Hawthorn supporters)”

Triple-M gets a 7.


If you are still reading at this point, chances are you’re either Trucker Slim, Aussie 80’s or Grant Fraser (Hope you are enjoying your summer, Gentlemen).  I have saved the best for last.



The Festival of the Boot (part one) – ABC (Roy & H.G)

General Review:

I listened to the ‘festival of the boot’ podcast from the ABC website. Rampaging Roy and H.G were in fine form. Wisecracking at Nathan Buckley and Wayne Carey in the pre-match, Roy: “The great Collingwood coach and I used the word great incorrectly, because Nathan Buckley isn’t a great coach…” and on Carey, “Whenever Carey opens his mouth I leave the room.” There were early references to Spangher as ‘The man from Metallica’ and a proposed sipping game, whenever they called him. Roy shared a personal anecdote of his only meeting with Tom Jones, which was also with Colonel Gaddafi’s son. They were discussing ideas for an Australian film. Tom said, “How about a kid, born in Wales, who moves to Australia, ends up entertaining and having some insights on football… Gaddafi’s kiddie’s ears pricked up and he thought this was a great idea…Next thing we knew bang, crash, boom, things have changed in Libya and the film fell through.” HG: “What a blow, it sounded like a terrific plot.” 

When Rampe conceded an early free to Gunston, H.G, “That’s not in the back …only gravity forced him over.”

Score: Swans 7, Hawks 2

HG: Could you say next goal vital?’ Roy: ‘You could. It is’

Following Gunston’s miss in the first quarter, HG: “A failure between boot, brain, buttock and ball”.

Late in the first (Langford’s first goal), Roy: “Hawthorn is doing to the Swans what the Swans do to other teams, keeping it bottled up, they can’t get the ball out.”

At Quarter time, Roy: “Grand Finals are won and lost on how you apply and respond to pressure. Hawthorn are applying pressure, swans are applying no pressure.”

On the Hand of Rioli, HG: “Brilliant work by Rioli, that’s why you have him in a team. Never mind how buggered his hamstring is.”

In the third quarter after Tippet had been smothered by Cyril and then marked over by Lake, HG mooted, “Would you think about trading Tippet if you got an offer for him?”

 HG: “It has become a dramatic final of which there is only one team involved in the drama.”

 Specific Review:

Both: ‘Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!’

HG: ‘I think, by rights, it was out…’

Roy: ‘I do too, but bugger it, let’s go with show business …You know the Gods are smiling on you, HG…I’m sure even the Swans players out there would have enjoyed that as well.’


Back to General Review:

When Tippet marked, going back with the flight, and scored a late goal in the 3rd,

Roy: “Gunston’s been great, how must he feel with Tippet getting it all over him there?”

Roy: “Buddy’s been terrific today, we can’t take that away from him. But you’ve got to ask, what’s he gonna be like in eight or nine years time?”

Roy: “Oddly enough HG, if the Swans didn’t have Lance Buddy Franklin and the Hawks did, it would be a much closer contest.”

10 out of 10, for entertainment value.


To conclude, listening to the broadcast fortified the view, ‘nothing beats being there’. It also inspired empathy for why Elvis took out so many of his T.Vs.

My preference is the ‘less is more’ style of a bygone Doug Bigelow or, from the beautiful game, Martin Tyler – whose voice I would gladly wake to every morning, urging me to get up and boldly run at them, with flair and industry.

On the other hand, making commentary is probably like making sausages and laws.

In the end, the DVD is what you’re left with, what will be pulled from the draw in five or 20 years. As the beauty of my first-hand account slips into long-term memory, and swamped with life’s other information, I will be reliant on the reproduction to remember what I saw.

On Grand Final day, I had a lucky point of view of Langford’s third. In the Ponsford stand, looking directly upon it, I could see the ball taking its course from its first bounce. The vault was unexpected. In one of the replays, you see a jumping, delirious Hawthorn crowd. I was in the same block of gold above them and the reaction was the same.

A thing like that gets us all. For some beautiful seconds you are part of something, it imprints in the memory.

The three-goal run in the third (Suckling, Roughead and Langford) may not everyone’s idea of heaven but it was mine. If John Kinsella had walked out of the cornfield and asked, “Is this Heaven?” Answer, “It’s Hawthorn”.


[1] Clark. J, “Footy’s Next Frontier”. Sunday Herald Sun 14.12.2014.

[2] John Lennon.

[3] Horn. J, “Brian Taylor brings the bubbles, so why is Saturday night footy feeling flat?”. The Age 02.08.2014.


About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.


  1. Great Chrissy present, thanks for a great read….and for knowing that I would still be reading at that point.

    I would love to have heard Roy and HG, their banter is worth tuning in to. Delivery as the Coodabeens would provide, same information coming from a different perspective which makes me realise why I love the game. “A failure between boot, brain, buttock and ball” has to be one of the quotes of the year.

    A personal preference for commentating is Tim Lane – just a pity he went commercial. Still remember his eloquent ways on 3LO in the 80’s. Dermie is best special comments, sees things that others don’t and doesn’t rely on stats sheets to know what’s going on.

    I would however take Pseudo Echo over Katy Perry any day, a great little Melbourne band from a great era when Hawks ruled Melbourne.

  2. What a ripper Xmas pressie! Thanks PC, for allowing me to live it all over again. And what an interesting and enlightening angle. I give you 10/10!

    Tyler should’ve called it as it truly was a beautiful game.


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