Footy Commentary – The gift that keeps on giving (or: Intellectual Wilderness, ho!).

Sports commentary – particularly AFL – has taken a fair bit of stick in recent times. Personally, I find the current crop of commentators to be an unending source of highly valuable and extremely relevant information to what I’m seeing on the box or hearing through the wireless.

Although the following compilation reads more like a drinking game (now there’s a thought), here’s just some of the things I’ve learned from listening to AFL commentary over a number of seasons:


Mike Pyke.

Word around the campfire is that Mike Pyke of the Sydney Swans is from Canada. I hope this can be confirmed soon. It must be causing some consternation in commentary circles because it gets brought up with every one of his disposals, shepherds, hit outs, rotations… It’s an issue that’s been dragging on far too long since his debut for the Bloods in 2009.


The Immigration Minister's Preferred emigre

The Immigration Minister’s preferred emigre


Getting Around Him.

Congratulating a team-mate is passe. In the era of elite midfielders, structures, gut-running and Leading Teams, we now ‘get around’ people when they do something good. Accordingly, when the office junior brings you an inter-office envelope, when the tin lids finish everything on their plate at dinnertime, the apprentice knocks up a perfect tongue and groove mitre joint, or perhaps even when someone special in your life permits you a Friday night special after the footy, don’t thank them – GET AROUND THEM!


Hawthorn players get a lot of opportunities to 'get around' each other

Hawthorn players get an awful lot of opportunities to ‘get around’ each other


Mick Malthouse and Eddie McGuire.

Apparently Mick and Eddie don’t get along. Which is important, because Mick hasn’t been at Collingwood for three seasons now and the fracturing of their relationship has a massive influence on… well, not much really, when you think about it.


Dentistry: Number 2,681 on the list of things more interesting than whether Mick and Eddie get along.

Dentistry: Number 2,681 on the list of things more interesting than whether Mick and Eddie get along.


Bruce McAvaney.

Following the hiatus enforced on Australia’s most special commentator when the Foxtel, Nine and Ten consortiums held the AFL’s broadcast rights, Bruce obviously did some self-evaluation and introspection; re-emerging as football’s sensitive, new-age commentary guy. These days Bruce feels compelled to share every feeling he gets while behind a mic. At various stages of a game he gets feelings like if Sydney can get the next two goals, they’ll have kicked two in a row and really narrow the margin down. He often gets the feeling that with eight minutes left in the final quarter  and a 10-point margin separating the two sides, the result could go either way. Personally, when I hear some of the feelings that Bruce gets during a game these days, I’m immediately reminded of that woman cocooned in Xenomorph larvae begging for sweet, merciful death when Sigourney Weaver, Bill “It’s game over man” Paxton and the other Colonial Marines arrive on LV 426 in ‘Aliens’. But then, Bruce has managed to get closer to Francesca Cumani than most of us mere mortals ever will, so that’s Bruce 1-0 World in my book.


Well played B. McAvaney

Well played B. McAvaney


Jake King.

Former Richmond utility Jake King could apparently do a lot of push-ups. Which was awesome for Tiger fans because at times he struggled to hit the side of a slow moving freight train by hand or foot when getting rid of the ball. Footy’s come a long way. So far, that the amount of push ups one can do directly correlates to… I have no idea, but, yeah, he was good at push-ups (see also: Jakey, Sammy, Lukey and Big).


Daytime telly, working the stories that really matter.

Daytime telly, working the stories that really matter.



The Adelaide Oval.

Things get pretty loud at the Adelaide Oval during games involving the Crows or Port Adelaide. So I’ve heard anyway…





Brad Green and Manchester United.

Former Melbourne skipper (not a typo), downhill skier, and renowned goal over-celebrator Brad Green, was scouted by English Premier League giants Manchester United in the mid 90s. This interesting tid-bit was mentioned relatively sparingly over his 254-game career with the Fuchsias. And by sparingly, I mean at least 508 times. His background with the round ball may explain why Green used to celebrate his trademark ‘sheep dog’ goals (i.e hanging out the back of the pack and looking for a stray one) like he’d kicked the winning goal in time-on in a Grand Final, but I digress. I bet Sir Alex wakes up in a cold sweat at night wondering what could have been, if only the wee yin from Tasmania accepted a contract with Walsall instead of turning his back on Champions League trophies, FA Cups, League Championships, piles of endorsement cash – not to mention hookers and blow with Mark Bosnich…


Brad Green reduces the margin to 82 points

Brad Green reduces the margin to 82 points



Chris Scott and Brad Scott.

Chris and Brad Scott are apparently:

A) Related (possibly paternal twins)


B) Eat dinner together regularly. At least that’s the conclusion I’m drawing, as we’re always told that it “will be interesting around the dinner table in the Scott house” in the aftermath of a Geelong versus North Melbourne game. I believe that Chris may have also once complained that the roof at the Docklands stadium remained opened while it rained.


"Happy birthday, knackers"

“Happy birthday, knackers”


Sandy Roberts.

Sandy Roberts once made a boo-boo on air when he tried to mnemonically remember a Miss World entrant’s surname by likening it to male genitalia. He then went on to use the mnemonic word instead of the woman’s actual surname on live television. In the corresponding time since he made this unfortunate faux pas, the State Bank of Victoria, the S.E.C, locally manufactured cars, and the Gas and Fuel Towers have ceased to exist. We’ve had eight Prime Ministers (one of which was the first female to occupy the Office of Prime Minister), the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, CSL and Telstra have been privatised, Sydney has hosted an Olympics, the Socceroos have qualified for the last three consecutive World Cups and the Australian dollar has been floated on international currency markets. But, yeah, Leanne Cock still gets a run like it happened last week.


The latest addition to Fox Footy's 'stable of stars' with Sandy Roberts and Eddie McGuire

The latest addition to Fox Footy’s ‘stable of stars’ with Sandy Roberts and Eddie McGuire


Jakey, Sammy, Lukey and Big.

Two interesting clauses in the current broadcast rights deal seem to be:

1)   If your birth name is Jake, Sam or Luke, broadcast networks and print outlets are contractually bound to change that individual’s name to Jakey, Sammy and Lukey once you step over the white line. Just ask Jakey King, Sammy Mitchell, Jakey Stringer and Lukey Ball.

2)   If you stand in excess of 196 centimetres, broadcast networks and print outlets are contractually bound to add the prefix ‘Big’ to your name. Viz: Big Kurt Tippett, Big Ruff, Big Jono Brown, Big Jakey Carlisle (that’s a two-fer if you’re playing at home) and Big ‘Eee-varn’ Maric.


'Sammy' Mitchell and 'Lukey' Hodge

‘Sammy’ Mitchell and ‘Lukey’ Hodge



AFL commentary: banal? Over the top? Self- absorbed? As dumb as a box full of hammers?

The people tasked with serving this shit up producing AFL coverage claim they’re simply giving footy lovers what we (allegedly) want.

You can give me a spell.

About Steve Baker

"Colourful central Victorian racing identity". Recovering Essendon supporter, and sometime weekend night racing presenter on RSN Racing and Sport.


  1. Magnificent Steve.

    A few other bits highly relevant information:
    – Bachar Houli is a Muslim
    – Rebecca Judd wore a very slimming, revealing, red dress at the Brownlow one year.

  2. ned_wilson says

    It was only recently pointed out that Buddy Franklin bends the ball right to left when having a shot from the left forward pocket. It’s normally the wrong side for a left footer!

  3. Skip of Skipton says

    I haven’t heard ‘Big Marky Blicavs’ yet, and he’s 198cm. Although I recall hearing once that he is an ‘elite’ runner and was a steeple-chaser.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Not to mention the various “Footy Factories” there are in (seemingly only) Victoria.

    Some of them should probably put out a “Product Recall”

    Leave Sandy alone – I’m to blame for that one:

    Luke Darcy’s dad was a far better commentator, but he wasn’t that good either.

    Yibbida-yibbida? (at least he has gone from our screens)

  5. Great stuff from Stevie (can I call you Stevie?) – let’s all get around him.

    If I read/hear big-bodied together with Tom Bell again I will vomit, which is to say I will be vomiting again on the weekend.

  6. Apparently former Port captain and coach Matthew Primus’s grand-dad was Reg Hickey. May have been mentioned before his first game at Fitzroy and a sparing* number of times since.

    Also I’ve heard tell that the previously mentioned Mr Maric’s choice of hairstyle is a mullet. But nobody had ever dared call him Ivan the Mullet for reasons that, well if they aren’t obvious you should ask the always good for a larf Mark Latham.

    *The number in question being 2985854. ‘Sparing’ because it nearly drove me spare….

  7. daniel flesch says

    It needs to be repeated , apparently , That Luke Breust takes advantage of his Rugby League background in Temora , NSW. Bruce McAvaney’s frequent hysterical adoring outbursts are repetitively annoying.

  8. Dave Brown says

    Apparently the Jack boys’ dad was quite good at Rugby League, Ollie Wines has substantial quads and Levi Casboult ‘clunks’ marks.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Think I’ve heard it mentioned a couple of times that Scott Pendlebury has a basketball background.
    Well played indeed, B.McAvaney (and S.Baker).

  10. Great stuff Bakes. We will have to start calling you The People’s Clavicle.
    I only watch Friday nights and the Eagles generally, so the TV stuff generally washes over me. ABC radio is generally good value, but “Walshie” in Adelaide gives me the irrits. Walshie and Jammo. Walshie always sounds like he has spent the day on the red cordial, and is full of loud faux mateiness.
    Over here in Perth Ken Judge is good special comments man, but ‘Doro’ is stuck in the boofy blokes era when they drag him out.
    Brad Hardie is a caricature of a caricature. But you don’t get him on 3AW over east thankfully. Keeps going around so he can get his Brownlow out of the pawn shop.

  11. I have learnt that Daniel Merret’s nickname is ‘Sauce’ and although probably not in the height range is often prefixed with Big. This may be to do with the positive discrimination* leftovers of the Voss era.

    *Voss seemed to favour the fingers, perhaps in the hope they would play like him. Thankfully now it is only Big Sauce and Josh ‘Little Sauce’ Green. Although he would be better served as ‘Pepper Sauce’.


    Also… BT saying that the players are telling their opponents their names.


  13. As BT is a breach of our human rights, we should be looking to the UN for an intervention.

  14. *gingers

    Curse autocorrect.

  15. Capable of misinterpretation…some ‘Gingers’ don’t have red hair, or even the last name Rogers.

  16. I’M going to see Steve Baker play this Saturday.
    That’ll be the Steve Baker who used to suit up for the Saints, but now plays in the Bendigo Football League.
    With his old mate Stevie Milne. These days the 2 Steves have a gallop for the Strathfiedsaye Storm and wear guernseys modelled, somewhat, on the Geelong Catter look.

  17. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Jack Watts showed talent.
    Dustin Fletcher is old.
    Luke Hodge is a spiritual leader. And not only a Lukey but a Hodgey.
    Josh Kennedy (WCE) was part of the deal to get Judd to Carlton.
    Matt Spangher has long hair.
    Barlow broke his leg.
    Buddy is being paid a lot.

  18. Actually, Finger was Luke(y) Power’s nickname. Quite happy if the positive discrimination unit played like him.

    And in further news to shoot down in flames any potential progress. Just read an article about the Lions 2013 draftees having better first year seasons than Geelong’s crew from 2001, (Kelly, Ablett, Bartel, et al) with more games in them, so therefore Brisbane is about to embark on a Geelong like era in a few more years. No pressure on the kids, unlike the correspondent…

  19. Chris Weaver says

    I haven’t listened to James ‘JB’ Brayshaw in years, but does he still talk about ‘the dukes’? Do people on Triple M still wobble their heads?

    Will Minson is an intellectual who speaks German and plays the flute (except that I understand he can’t and he doesn’t).

    Cameron Ling was once voted the sexiest man in football.

    Majak Daw was born in Sudan.

    Shaun Hampson and Megan Gale had a kid together.

    The SCG is not very long. Kardinia Park is really narrow. Subiaco is a tough venue to travel to.

    Too many players look ‘disinterested’ or ‘laconic’.

    Meanwhile every time I hear the word ‘culture’, I do a Hermann Göring and reach for my revolver (except that quote is not a strict translation).

  20. Hurn is a VERY long kick.
    Ellis came from Hawthorn with the coach. Someone told me he has had a lot of injuries. Can’t remember who.
    This Josh Kennedy is the West Coast one. Apparently there is a bloke somewhere with the same name who can play a bit.
    Cox is big. Snigger.
    Mark LeCras is a very good kick for goal. (Hasn’t been true for a couple of years, but no matter.)
    NicNait has had an injury-interrupted pre-season, but he is getting back to what we know he is capable of, and we are all glad to see that. (Some truisms are timeless.)
    The Eagles have got a lot of talent up forward. (Like the Yeti, many claim to have seen it, but no documentary proof exists).

  21. Nic McGay says

    ‘Pioneer’ Chelsea Roffey
    Ross Lyon’s ‘elusive flag’
    Nick Maxwell making the most of his talent
    The size of the SCG
    Nick Riewoldt’s hard running
    Heritier’s tragic past

  22. Michael Cunningham says

    I’m grateful (but a little surprised) that the smaller papers didn’t run with “Big Cox goes limp after Vickery hand-job.”

    No-one has mentioned BT’s “Boy-Oh-Boy!”-isms….

    And apparently Boomer Harvey has been at the caper for a while.

  23. Chris Weaver says

    Peter B – Hurn is a long kick…but is it a raking left foot?

  24. Is it just me, or does Bruce’s voice changes when he comments on a ‘special’ moment make you feel a little dirty? Then of course there is JB who likes to say ‘just ripped him a new one’; now that is inappropriate for kiddies listening in. Haven’t listened to him for a long time, so not sure whether he has given that little gem up.

  25. Righto, time to ease up you blokes. Have you ever thought that this might all be part of Ch7’s affirmative action policy for the disabled?
    Think of the thousands of Australians with acquired brain injuries. And all the Almanackers now propping up front bars, or lunching for Australia, for whom Korsakoff’s Syndrome is a probability in their advancing years.
    Without these helpful regular reminders from the commentators all these sufferers would have no idea who the blokes on the screen kicking the ball were, or their attributes.
    Personally I am trying to obliterate all memory of the past couple of Eagles seasons right now.

  26. Michael Pola says

    Lets not forget that all Mathews are automatically renamed Matty ,similarly Patricks are Patty or Paddy. Speaking of Yibbida yibbida, I was astonished to hear that the user of this phrase wanted to copyright it as though it was his originality for Gods sake. Didn’t Rex ever hear of Porky Pig ? Good riddance, what a shite commentator. Its the game NOT the personality calling same. Do any of the older folk recall the ABCs late Dick Mason? He was the best baseball, basketball and footy commentator bar none. And what about those speedy footballers possessed of afterburners? Jetta of the Bloods and even Juddy for example . Don’t recall hearing afterburners being mentioned for a while.

    Go Bloods

  27. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Yep, remember Dick Mason, especially for his Claxton Shield baseball commentary, didn’t get much of his footy commentary when I was in Adelaide.

    But this therefore qualifies me as “older folk”, so I’m not sure that I want to admit it.

    I suspect that there are a number of things that could be learnt from reviewing the Alamanac commentary over a number of seasons too …

  28. David Zampatti says

    There’s only ever been one Freo player Bruce has ever bestowed his special familiarity on. Not Pav, who remains Pavlich, or Sandi, who is still Sandilands.
    It was Anthony, who Bruce generally called Jack.
    Sure, he was maybe the most inconsequential Docker ever.

    But he did once play for Collingwood.

  29. ‘This Josh K is the WC one’

    As evidenced by the jumper he’s wearing, and the fact that there seem to be a lot of other WC players out there as well.

    ‘Ripped him a new one’ has thankfully gone the way of the Pet Rock. A five minute wonder that seemed longer. Always seemed disproportionately popular with noisy mouse-warrior types.

    Dick Mason, Doug Heywood, Geoff Leek….all unforgettable.

  30. One more goal could break this game open – Bruce M

  31. Shane Johnson says

    Dick Mason on the ABC wireless at the MCG on a warm summer Sunday arvo in the 60’s in a slow passage of play in the Sheffield Shield.

    ” A flock of seagulls pass overhead…………silence……..umpire Collins looks up at square leg………..silence………and keeps his mouth closed!!!”

  32. Shane Johnson says

    Doug Heywood…now ya talkin

  33. matt watson says

    Everything written above is a simple reminder of why I listen to the ABC broadcast and watch the vision.
    Damn TV commentators…
    Next weekend, play the ‘state the obvious’ game.
    Each time one of the TV commentators ‘states the obvious’ you must drink your beer empty.
    You’ll be drunk by half time.
    And that’s stating the obvious…

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