Drew Morphett – ‘Onya

Photo courtesy of the ABC

The nation’s sports fans received the shock news today that Drew Morphett OAM passed away last night. According to this Herald Sun report, Drew was watching last night’s Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs match when he died suddenly.

Morphett’s 10-year run hosting the ABC’s football replay program “The Winners” was especially cherished by those outside of the VFL’s Melbourne heartland. For many, Drew brought an eagerly awaited weekly dose of footy into Australia’s loungerooms from Cape York to Cape Leeuwin.

He was a versatile host and commentator on both TV and radio, first coming to notice on the ABC program Sportsnight in the mid 70s (where his offsider was David Hill, who went on to pioneer the World Series Cricket TV coverage and more), spending many years at the Seven Network before returning to the ABC.

Although footy and cricket were his mainstays, his Olympic cycling and diving coverage showed his versatility.

Abundant tributes have been paid to him today by his media colleagues, many referring to his ability to enjoy life.

Please share your favourite memories of one of Australia’s most popular sports broadcasters.

RIP Drew Morphett.

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Paul Minogue says

    Infectious enthusiasm combined with knowledgable and accurate call for whichever sport he called. Unbeatable combination. Drew and The Winners affected my Sunday mass attendance (when I attended) requiring appearance at the serious 9-30 or 11am time slot, rather than the 5pm slackers slot.

  2. Pamela Sherpa says

    What an appropriate way to go out – watching a game of footy. Drew was a true gentleman and professional when it came to broadcasting sport..

  3. Charlie Brown says

    Well said Swish.
    Loved The Winners on Sunday afternoons. Morphett was a great host.
    And enjoyed Morphett commentate the cricket which he did with much less affectation than 1-2 others I could mention.
    Congrats on grabbing 5th spot.

  4. Barry Nicholls says

    One of the good guys and underrated

  5. Gordo made a banner the Bob Neil and Don Bradman stand which was as usual well made and was standing up in a predominate spot in the outer and I ran in to Drew Morphett and I asked him did he no about the banner to his credit he picked me out straight away and he replies yes I no who Bob Neil is but whose,Don Bradman ( yep remember the winners fondly )

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Drew brought much need flair to the ABC coverage in the 70s counterbalancing the dour, gratuitous vowel stretching Dougs (Heywood, Bigelow, Mason). He made me feel like he knew what the fans were thinking and feeling in every passage of play. Vale Drew

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I first came across Drew on Sportsnight, courtesy of my 14th birthday present 12″ Sanyo black and white portable. I don’t remember much of content now, but it was the first of the magazine/doco style sports shows. I think it was on Thursday nights at 8pm, just before the Big Match. If you can catch any clips from that era, you can hear Drew’s tortured attempts to comply with the compulsory ABC British accent of the time.

    I won’t pretend that I was an avid follower of the Winners (kick a Vic and all that), but it was the best way keep an eye out on Peter Jonas, Terry Moore, Russell Ebert etc. Drew’s hosting was, as many have said, very reassuring and the ABC’s reach into the continent was valued by many.

    As the world changed (and his network), the inner Drew came to the surface. He seemed more playful and even more relateable. Back at the ABC, his work with Skull O’Keeffe was priceless.

    His eventual final departure from the ABC seemed abrupt, cast aside for the Whateley, Rogers, Nannes, Katich era.

    Vale Drew.

  8. Very sad. I first recall Drew calling Sheffield Shield matches circa 1978-79. Of course hosting the Winners was an event he excelled in.

    Over the last few months we’ve lost a few of those sporting media icons of my youth. Richards, Beitzel, Morphett all up there in the great commentary box in the sky alongside Dyer, Lahiff, etc.

    Vale Drew Morphett,


  9. He kept the boyish grin to the end; and the hair. A lot to be said for that. Going quietly on a Friday night watching the footy with a red. A lot to be said for that. But 69! Not a lot to be said for that.
    The Winners probably meant a lot more to us in the supplicant states; where 5pm on a Sunday meant enjoying the footballers that the VFL had stolen from us. And then Countdown. Bliss.
    Vale’ Drew.

  10. Drew had a lot of stories. He’d been in a lot of colourful schools and had very good recall. This made him an ideal luncher.

    He had a diverse career. He was well-known in Queensland. As others ahve noted The Winners was a very important show for footy-lovers, especially Up North, which made Drew, Tim and Gareth and the commentators well known up there. Calling cricket also gave Drew prominence. He was versatile.

    In recent times he was often at racing lunches. He had just as many racing yarns. He told a signature gag (I heard it a number of times) about a senior jockey fixing a race. It’s a classic Australian tale. The senior jockey walks into the jockeys’ room and gives every jockey except the apprentice 10 quid. The apprentice is to ride the 25/1 shot. “I don’t need to worry about you son. You couldn’t ride a rocking horse. And you should know what’s good for you.” The apprentice says nothing. The senior jockey gives everyone their instructions: I”ll be poking up on the inside by the turn and coming to the furlong the Red Sea will part and I’ll burst through.” He settles last with the apprentice on his outside. Coming to the three furlong the senior jockey hunts up on the inside. Everything else is going backwards. They drift off the rail. He pokes thorugh, and is two lengths clear hard-held, when the apprentice flashes down the outside, two to everything else’s one.. “Shove that up your arse you stupid old prick,” the apprentice yells as he flies past. The old jockey glances across, “Don’t worry son. We all backed you!”

    Drew was old school in many ways.

    Vale Drew Morphett.

  11. John Butler says

    A prominent voice through the years. A man of great versatility. One who communicated the joy of sport, without sounding self important.. These are not qualities to take for granted now.

    Vale Mr Morphett. Well played.

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    My Drew memories start in the 80’s when he joined Channel 7. Such an enthusiastic caller. “If you don’t want to know the score, look away now!”. I have a DVD featuring many of P.Daicos’ greatest goals. Drew’s commentary is prominent on many of them.
    Loved his Test cricket calling, especially with KJ O’Keeffe.
    What a sad loss.

  13. To me, Drew will always mean “The Winners”.
    It was a Saturday night staple for years when I was growing up.

    The passing of Drew is yet another nostalgic reminder of a time when calling footy meant just that. No histrionics, no ego.

    Vale, Drew

  14. Dennis Gedling says

    “..And we start with the replay at Kardinia Park at the 11 minute mark of the second quarter with Geelong leading by 11 points.”

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