Channel 7’s Saturday night pre-game show and its remarkable similarity to a steaming pile of poo

There are usually a lot of big predictions and statements made after Round 1 of a football season, and at what is only the half-way point of the first week, many are being bandied about willy-nilly already.

Malthouse has no idea. The Pies might want him back as they have even less of an idea with Bucks and are heading south. The Giants are going to deliver on their massive draft concessions and crush everyone and the Dockers are the reincarnation of the free-scoring Cats under Blight.

Here in clicheville, we are resisting going the early crow.

Except for one thing: The pre-game show on Channel 7 before the Saturday night game was the worst thing you’ll see on television this year. Unless of course, it gets a run next week, in which case, we’ll call it a draw.

In my defence, I was not aware that it was being hosted by Luke Darcy when I tuned in for a quick pre-dinner TV treat and a well-earned Scotch.

Within 10 minutes, this feeble attempt had fallen flat and made me pine for the subtlety and cerebral gag set-up of Funniest Home Videos or Two Broke Girls. In simple terms, it gives a bad name to other steaming piles of poo masquerading as television shows.

The trouble is, the show itself can’t decide what it wants to be. Part Brian Taylor self-promotion device, part sportsman’s night gentle digs at fellow panellists and part ‘let’s fill the void left by Before the Game’, it was rubbish.

And, despite declaring a conflict of interest here as being the (unelected) President of the Sam Lane fan club, Channel 7 simply does not know how to use a journo of her talents. Respected at 10 (and The Age) as being a football person first and a woman second, 7 seem to still exist in the sexist old days of ‘seen but not heard’ and as last year showed on the Saturday night coverage, her presence was barely tolerated as the discussion happened around her not involving her.

Mick Molloy was obviously more than willing to accept a free plane ticket to a game he would have been attending anyway, and was happy to pot Richo and do his shtick from last year for the price of a few Crownies. Half his luck.

Pre-game shows are usually difficult, being heavy on bland interviews with assistant coaches who give little away and are often light on serious game predictions. The heavily scripted content of the Saturday show though reeked of something that was going to push on with its own agenda, and couldn’t be amended for the real-time drama and result being played out in the GSW/Sydney game that deserved more instant attention, much as radio does. No, it was pre-arranged segments in the main, little or no Friday night or Saturday afternoon game recap, just a lot of ‘look at me, I’m on TV’ stuff from Darce and co.

Friday night footy coverage seems to be serious and analytical, (probably too much for mine), but that’s usually in respect of the marquee status of the game-of-the-week profile of the Friday game. Saturday seems to see itself as vaudeville, slapstick and attempted comedy. Do they think that the audience isn’t watching? I half expected a cut to the Saturday night trots and a return to Hardy and Sigley in the studio.

Darcy is fine on radio, usually reasonably opinionated and outspoken on some matters but not an interviewer’s backside as we saw with the Dean Robinson piece last year.  Fine family man and great junior football coach, he should not be allowed to be the lead banana on Saturday night and needs to stick to occasional interjections and asides.

If this is the Channel 7 plan for the year, to grab from the carcass of the sadly departed Before the Game and crap out Brian Taylor puff pieces all year, then my long resisted aversion to paying for Foxtel will be sorely tested.

Last year, the Taylor, Darcy and Basil Zempelis Saturday night coverage was rightly criticised as self-indulgent and lousy. I’ve got news for you guys: In 2014, it’s got worse.

Please, take it out the back and put it out of its (or rather our) misery.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Well said Sean.

    I gave up on pre-game shows a LONG time ago. You’ll be surprised at just how little shows like these actually contribute to the match if you simply stop watching them. You said yourself; boring, beige, cliche-riddled interviews which harp on about “respect for our opponents” “he should be right for next week” “just focusing on tonight’s match”, “he’s been super on the track this week, so he’ll have a big role tonight” and the one that has me reaching for the razors and warm water “processes and structures” (drink!). And then there’s the ‘Stevo’ regurgitating what he saw on twitter four hours ago as “massive breaking news”.

    We all know the rules, we can see what’s going on, so why not just lounge back in your favourite chair, select some tunes, grab your well-earned scotch, mute the commentary and enjoy! If there’s something controversial, simply turn the sound up until you know what’s going on (viz the storm delay that happened during Satdee night’s GWS V Swans game).

    It’s how I watch footy each week. And stay sane – gloriously free of the beige-cardigan, intelligence insulting banality that is commercial television’s coverage of live sport.

    Take that first step son! You’ll be glad you did!

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    The only sports show worth watching is “Offsiders”!

  3. These types of programmes are actually turning me off football full stop. After watching this puerile crap one actually has less insight into the game.

    I am, as a sports fan, obviously not the target audience.

    I watch tapes of Shirl’s Neighbourhood for a more enlightened, robust commentary. The crow is still the bad guy.

  4. aussie80s says

    Channel 7 had the opportunity to grab Before The Game lock, stock and barrel and could have just transplanted it directly. That show worked.

    What they have come up with is typical of their attempts of the last 20 years to have football entertainment shows. For some reason they try to emulate The Footy Show, (which is neither entertaining nor informative) and create something even worse.

    Remember The Rex Hunt Footy Show, Live & Kicking, The Bounce. Abysmal stuff.

    Piles of poo would be offended to be compared to this material

  5. Yeah The Footy Show has a lot to answer for. Not really its fault through, if there was any other sort of variety offering on tv it would have no gap to fill.

  6. Incredibly, in terms of Channel 7 attempts at football shows since the demise of World of Sport, like a steaming poo it doesn’t matter who produces them they all come out stinking the same.

    Aussie 80’s is on the money – why wouldn’t they just transplant what worked with Before the Game? Then again, they’d manage to stuff it up somehow.

    ‘Shirl’s Neighbourhood’ – LOL Ray!

  7. John Butler says

    Sean, I think the phrase “steaming pile of poo” should appear in more TV reviews.

    Well played sir.

  8. My instincts said steaming pile of poo so I gave it a wide berth. Thanks for your reconnaissance all the same Sean. It saved my senses the trouble should I have been curious down the track

  9. Despite good wins for Suns and GWS, still found it hard to get excited about the season opening. For which I do blame the steaming piles. By the time the games had actually started I was closer to sleep after two days of moderately tiresome work than able to cope with the demands of watching teams I didn’t care about on Friday and while I favour the suns, didn’t hold out much hope of a win, (why do I get sucked in each year that the tigers are looking good?), so attempted to record the game to watch the next day only to find it didn’t work. And I didn’t even have a scotch or any other alcoholic beverage.

    Unfortunately I managed to record The Steaming Pile. On the plus side, fast forward worked.

  10. daniel flesch says

    Come on you blokes , all those talking heads / would-be comedy footy shows are rubbish. If you want good down-to-earth accurate analysis save time and temprement and just stick to the Almanac . All the footy info you’ll ever need or want is here.

  11. ‘The Steaming Pile’, Gus. That has a ring to it

  12. For heavens sake get rid of Sam Lane. She tries to dominate the show
    and talk over everybody else and is pathetic. Send Mick Molloy with her please, then you might have the basis of a reasonable show
    A choice between the current format and a replay on Fox Footy has me on my
    computer looking for something more interesting. Should not be too difficult

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