TV Commentator History (database)

Remove this Banner Ad

Gibbsy

Moderator
Oct 12, 2009
23,087
26,270
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Manchester City, Victory, Cavs
Hi good folk. Trying to build a bit of a history of commentators on TV that can eventually be posted somewhere online. I can recognise some voices but not many, the special comments callers on the old Fox Footy Channel and also early 2000s Channel 7 have me stumped. Below is what I have so far.

There are heaps of AFL videos on Youtube from every year and TV station, so for those with great knowledge it shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

Tagging some people who may be knowledgeable on this: FootyJunkie Mr_Smooth stmookeyj SJ UpForGrabs

2014 – Channel Seven


Friday Night:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

Leigh Matthews

Wayne Carey

Tom Harley

Matthew Richardson


Saturday Afternoon:

Hamish McLachlan

Basil Zempilas

Tim Watson

Tom Harley

Jude Bolton

Mark McVeigh

Andrew Welsh


Saturday Night:

Brian Taylor

Luke Darcy

Matthew Richardson

Cameron Ling

Sam Lane

Mick Molloy


Sunday Afternoon:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

Jude Bolton

Mark McVeigh

Andrew Welsh


With Mark Stevens as “chief football reporter”



2013 – Channel Seven


Friday Night:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

Leigh Matthews

Tom Harley

Matthew Richardson


Saturday Afternoon:

Hamish McLachlan

Basil Zempilas

Tim Watson

Tom Harley


Saturday Night:

Brian Taylor

Luke Darcy

Matthew Richardson

Cameron Ling

Sam Lane

Dr Peter Larkins


Sunday Afternoon:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

Cameron Ling


With Mark Stevens as “chief football reporter”



2012 – Channel Seven


Friday Night:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

Leigh Matthews

Tom Harley

Matthew Richardson


Saturday Afternoon:

Hamish McLachlan

Basil Zempilas

Tom Harley

Mick Malthouse

Brett Kirk


Saturday Night:

Brian Taylor

Luke Darcy

Matthew Richardson

Cameron Ling


Sunday Afternoon:

Bruce McAvaney

Dennis Cometti

Tim Watson

(one more here?)



2001 – Channel Seven


Friday Night:

Bruce McAvaney

Robert Walls

Dermott Brereton

Dipper


Saturday Afternoon:

Anthony Hudson

Gerard Healy

Doug Hawkins


Saturday Night:

Bruce McAvaney


Sunday Afternoon:

Anthony Hudson

Craig Hutchison

Doug Hawkins


Queens Birthday:

Dennis Commetti

Gerard Healy


Grand Final:

Bruce McAvaney
Sandy Roberts

Gerard Healy

Jason Dunstall

Dipper



2002 – Channel Ten


Saturday Afternoon:



(main commentator)

Michael Christian


Saturday Night:

Stephen Quartermain

Anthony Hudson

Robert Walls


Grand Final:

Stephen Quartermain

Anthony Hudson

Robert Walls

Malcolm Blight



2002 – Channel Nine


Friday Night:

Dennis Commetti

Eddie McGuire

Garry Lyon

Dermott Brereton

Tony Jones


Sunday Afternoon:

James Brayshaw

Brian Taylor

Garry Lyon

Michael Roberts
 

hcd199

Club Legend
Apr 29, 2009
2,219
1,738
Hobart
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Waterford GAA, Glenorchy, Hob (BBL)
I suppose the issue with doing it generally, for recent years, is that there are so many deviations from the set pattern of Fri-Sat-Sat-Sun. That, and all the "special guest" commentators who come in from time to time... I do have a list of who the play-by-play callers for each North game from Round 1 2009 were, save for Round 9 of '09 which I can't locate, but something league-wide that covered off particular matches rather than just general commentary teams per timeslot would take a little time...

Number of times commentating a North match as a play-by-play caller since 2010:
Dwayne Russell - 27
Anthony Hudson - 24
Dennis Cometti - 22
Bruce McAvaney - 19
Brian Taylor - 10
Eddie McGuire - 8
Basil Zempilas - 7
Stephen Quartermain - 6
Michael Christian - 5
Tim Lane - 4
Sandy Roberts - 3
Hamish McLachlan - 2
Matt Campbell - 2
Kelli Underwood - 1
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Smoooothy

TAKE THAT BACK!!
Jan 12, 2005
23,736
21,099
Brunswick
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
North Adelaide; ConeyIslandWarriors
gonna be pretty difficult for anything prior to the 2002 season. apart from friday night, i don't think there was any real team of commentators. they were mixed around quite a bit.

from an adelaide point of view, graham cornes would be the special comments guy for a lot of footy park games. invariably, guys like drew morphett and peter landy would commentate our games. Sandy occasionally too.

Bruce McAvaney also did most Sydney based games, particularly in the late 90's when he was based in Sydney. Can remember Neil Brooks doing commentry in a couple of games there too

Also, I beleive Anthony Hudson made his television debut in 1999 with 7. Hutchy had a crack at the commentry caper in either 2000 or 2001

Rex Hunt in 1996 filled in when most of the 7 network was at the Atlanta Olympics
 

Hoggy

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 20, 2001
17,654
3,883
Drumroll please
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Storm, MVFC, WHU, Seahawks, Canucks
Rex also did some games in 1999...he commentated with Hudson in the Hawthorn vs Geelong game in Round 21 1999, when Crawford confirmed his Brownlow win.
 

Borry

Protected Species
Aug 15, 2004
8,738
2,171
You never never know if you never never go.
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
South Sydney
Dwayne Russell was doing Sunday games on Nine throughout the length of their stint 2002-2006, so put him in the 2002 list.

Tim Lane was on 10 from mid 2002 till the end of their tenure.

Steven Silvagni was a special comments man on 10 from 2002-2006.

Before 2002
- Sandy was an anchor commentator for Sat and Sun games until the end of 2001.
- Peter Landy did Sunday matches until the end of 2000.
- Drew Morphett did matches until the end of 2000.
- Ian Robertson was a Friday night and finals commentator alongside Bruce till the end of 2001.
- Matt Campbell was commentating Brisbane games from around 1998 until 2001.
- I think Lockett did special comments in 2000-2001 for Sydney games.
- John Russo was a commentator in the 1990s until 1999 I think?
- Terry Wheeler had commentator stints in the 1990s for Sat and Sun matches until 1999.
- Blight also had stints for Sat and Sun matches from 1995 and 1996.

There's so much I can think of but I'll leave it at that for now.
 
Last edited:

nobbyiscool

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 11, 2006
14,541
16,360
Democratic People's Republic of Victoria
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Raiders/TasTigers/MV/Iggles
The 4th guy on 7 in 2012 was David Schwarz.

James Brayshaw was, in the first 2-3 years of the 9 deal, only a sort of ad-hoc, fill in commentator on Sunday afternoons wasn't he? I don't remember who the other commentator was though - I want to say it was just Commetti.
 

SJ

Premium Platinum
May 22, 2006
33,154
16,318
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
From 2002-2006 Channel 9 used to broadcast two games live on Sundays.

From memory Brayshaw, Taylor, McGuire and Russell were heavily involved in these.
 

Smoooothy

TAKE THAT BACK!!
Jan 12, 2005
23,736
21,099
Brunswick
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
North Adelaide; ConeyIslandWarriors
another couple

max stevens did boundry line duties for all adelaide games between 1991 and 1993. i think neil kerley took over after 1994

ian robertson & peter mckenna were all regulars in the comm box

peter mckenna in 97 and 98 did special comments in the finals series from the front row of the top tier of the southern stand at the MCG
 

UpForGrabs

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2006
7,003
3,363
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
New England Patriots
Late to this one, sorry guys.

Will echo poster earlier who said that pre-2002 is going to get tricky with non-concrete commentary teams.

For instance - when the Olympics were on, you had the main commentators (Bruce, Dennis, Landy, Morphett etc) all going off to Barcelona or Atlanta, leaving Gerard Healy, Bernie Quinlan, Terry Wheeler or Blighty to do main play commentating. Rex Hunt and Ian Major (?) each filled in at this time as well, IIRC.

Also - we can't forget that brief moment in time when Channel 7 were intent on making Neil Brooks a network star, before he went and pissed it all up against the wall before Sydney 2000 (talk about bad timing).

The early days of the Eagles had mainly Cometti commentating WA matches, with former East Freo and Essendon player Tony Buhagiar pulling boundary duties.

In terms of other commentators - the Fox Footy Channel ones (first incarnation) over in WA were a mix of:

Tim Gossage
Mark Readings (fill-in on occasion)
Dean Kemp (Special comments)
Peter Wilson (Special comments)
John Casey (same guy who called NBL for Fox)
Jason Bennett

Also - to muddy the waters, some of the matches in 2002/03 were Foxtel/Nine hybrids. Which is why you watch clips of matches such as WCE v Brisbane at the Gabba in 2003 (Judd 5-goal first half) and you had Cometti and Brereton from 9 commentating with Fox's Gerard Healy.

That's a kind of slap-dash list for now, will add to it as I go along.
 

UpForGrabs

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2006
7,003
3,363
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
New England Patriots
Can't believe I forgot to include Sam Kekovich.

The fat one did play-by-play commentary for an Eagles v Blues match in 2004 (Andrew Walker's first match) and spent the day calling every second Eagles player "Judd".

Was embarrassing.
 

stmookeyj

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 9, 2002
16,044
940
Queensland
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
The GF's that I have in the collection (and from memory) had the following callers which may give an indication on who was doing the calling for Channel 7 until around 2001. There will be some gaps on who joined and when.

1966
[Play by Play] Michael Williamson, Alan "Butch" Gale
[Special Comments] Ted Whitten

1971
[Play by Play] Michael Williamson (all 4 quarters), Bob Skilton (all 4 quarters), Jack Edwards (1st Quarter), Jeff Crouch (2nd and 4th Quarters), Frank Adams (3rd Quarter)
[Special Comments] Ron Barassi (did a few PbP segments)

1975
[Play by Play] Michael Williamson, Lou Richards

1977
[Play by Play] Lou Richards, Peter Ewin

1978-1986
[Play by Play] Peter Landy, Lou Richards
[Special Comments] Bob Skilton
[Boundary] Stephen Phillips (1984), Peter Donegan (1985-86)

From the YouTube videos found over the years, the lower grade GF's in the 78-86 era included....

1982 Under 19's
[Play by Play] Jack Edwards, Doug Wade

1986 Under 19's
[Play by Play] Peter Donegan, Jack Edwards

1983-1986 Reserves (This team was calling probably from 1982)
[Play by Play] Sandy Roberts, Peter McKenna
[Special Comments] Don Scott

Also on the Saturday Night replays from 1984-1986, generally Richards/Landy, Roberts/Skilton and Edwards/McKenna were the commentary pairings with Skilton doing special comments for the A-Team for Sydney Sunday matches and Finals


1988
[Play by Play] Drew Morphett, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Malcolm Blight

During that season, Play by Play callers were Landy, Roberts, Morphett, Cometti, McKenna, Ian Robertson. Special Comments were from Scott, Blight or Bernie Quinlan. Can't remember Boundary for Perth or Sydney home games, Bill McDonald was boundary for Bears home games.


1989
[Play by Play] Dennis Cometti, Ian Robertson
[Special Comments] Don Scott
[Boundary] Michael Roberts

Ross Glendinning replaced Blight as a Special Comments man.


1990
[Play by Play] Sandy Roberts, Ian Robertson
[Special Comments] Don Scott
[Boundary] Michael Roberts, Bernie Quinlan (who was near the all in at 1/4 time)

Bruce McAvaney joined from Channel 10 that year for PbP, Cameron Williams was boundary for Swans home games


1991
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Don Scott
[Boundary] Peter McKenna, Bernie Quinlan

Gerard Healy joined as a special comments man, Max Stevens was boundary for most Crows games (home or away). Perth based John Rogers called the last round game between Fitzroy and the Eagles, he may have done some boundary work for Eagles home games but cannot confirm.


1992
[Play by Play] Sandy Roberts, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Ross Glendinning
[Boundary]

Tim Watson was a boundary rider during his 'Sabatical' year. With the regulars in Barcelona for the Olympics (McAvaney did Athletics, Roberts Gymnastics, Landy Rowing/flat kayaking/canoeing, Morphett diving and Cometti Swimming for example) the likes of Scott and Healy and a few ring ins including Ted Whitten filled in.


1993
[Play by Play] Sandy Roberts, Ian Robertson
[Special Comments] Gerard Healy
[Boundary]


1994
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Gerard Healy
[Boundary] Robert DiPierdomenico, Neil Kerley

Both Dipper and Kerley joined this year for Boundary Riding duties. Terry Wheeler joined as primarily a Special Comments man for 1994 before dabbling in PbP in future years

1995
[Play by Play] Sandy Roberts, Ian Robertson
[Special Comments]
[Boundary]

Blight rejoined as primarily a PbP commentator replacing Quinlan, Russell Morris, Kevin Bartlett and Matt Campbell joined in a variety of roles (Campbell primarily did Bears games)

1996
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts
[Special Comments] Leigh Matthews
[Boundary] Dipper, Neil Kerley

Dwayne Lamb was boundary rider for Perth matches, Leigh Matthews joined as special comments, John Russo joined as the 4th umpire. Rex Hunt filled in on Friday Nights whilst regulars were in Atlanta.

1997
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Leigh Matthews (Contributions from Gerard Healy, Peter McKenna, John Russo)
[Boundary] Neil Kerley, Russell Morris

Tim Watson rejoined full time for Friday Night Football, Adrian Barich was boundary for Perth matches having been with Channel 9 for Western Reds matches in 1996. Mark Doran did some Friday Night games as an extra Boundary reporter


1998
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Leigh Matthews, Tim Watson
[Boundary] Dipper, Neil Kerley

Mick McGuane and Doug Hawkins joined as Special Comments


1999
[Play by Play] Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Ian Robertson
[Special Comments] Jason Dunstall, Gerard Healy
[Boundary] Dipper, Richard Osbourne

Osbourne and Paul Couch joined as Boundary Riders, Dunstall (replacing Watson) and John Worsfold joined as Special Comments. Rex Hunt and Anthony Hudson called some Melbourne based Saturday Night matches


2000
[Play by Play] McAvaney, Roberts
[Special Comments] Dunstall, Blight
[Boundary] Dipper, Tony Lockett, Hudson

Hudson joined full-time to replace Landy, Dermott Brereton joined Friday Nights as 2nd special comments (that team became 1 PbP and 2 Specials), Blight rejoined for a single season between coaching jobs, Chris Mainwaring was special comments for Perth matches, Graham Cornes was special comments for Crows Home matches, Paul Roos and Tony Lockett were special comments for Swans Home matches, Andrew Maher was used as a boundary reporter as opposed to boundary rider for FNF


2001
[Play by Play] McAvaney, Roberts
[Special Comments] Dunstall, Healy
[Boundary] Dipper, Matt Campbell

Craig Hutchison called Melbourne based games virtually replacing Morphett, Chris Dittmar called some Adelaide based games (primarily Power games), Robert Walls joined for Special Comments on FNF, Bruce Lindner and Tony McGuinness joined for the Port-Hawks semi and perhaps other matches, Ben Allan joined as 2nd special comments for Perth matches until he became caretaker coach of the Dockers, Paul Salmon and Tony Shaw joined as special comments, Mark Baretta was Boundary for Sydney home Matches, Victoria Carthew was Boundary for Brisbane home matches (Campbell did PbP for 10 of the Lions home games that year, the other was a FNF game).
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Mighty Eagles

Premiership Player
Mar 31, 2007
3,162
568
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
East Perth
- Peter Landy did Sunday matches until the end of 2000.
- Ian Robertson was a Friday night and finals commentator alongside Bruce till the end of 2001.
- I think Lockett did special comments in 2000-2001 for Sydney games.
.

Just for the sake of documentation, Landy finished up with 7 at the end of 1999, Robertson called Friday night footy up until either 1999 or 2000, and Locket did Special Comments during 2000-01, but not limited to Sydney games.
 

stmookeyj

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 9, 2002
16,044
940
Queensland
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Landy's last Footy assignment was a studio host of the 99 Ess v Carl PF, he did rowing and flatwater canoe/kayak at Sydney Olympics. FNF was a 2 caller booth until after 1999. Bruce/Dermie/Dunstall was the 2000 booth, Bruce/Walls/Dermie was 2001.
 

UpForGrabs

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2006
7,003
3,363
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
New England Patriots
1988
[Play by Play] Drew Morphett, Dennis Cometti
[Special Comments] Malcolm Blight

During that season, Play by Play callers were Landy, Roberts, Morphett, Cometti, McKenna, Ian Robertson. Special Comments were from Scott, Blight or Bernie Quinlan. Can't remember Boundary for Perth or Sydney home games, Bill McDonald was boundary for Bears home games.

Tony Buhagiar did this game at least. Cometti and Roberts on PbP, Blight on SC.

 

Hoggy

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 20, 2001
17,654
3,883
Drumroll please
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Storm, MVFC, WHU, Seahawks, Canucks
Bruce Monteath also did Perth boundary riding in the late 80s, while Cameron Williams did the same role in Sydney.
 

stmookeyj

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 9, 2002
16,044
940
Queensland
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
I also believe seven used Dixie Marshall in 1988 on boundary duties.

When Fox Footy had their first incarnation, games in Adelaide and Perth had the second caller from the FTA network that would telecast the game. In Adelaide the Fox callers were joined by Mark Aiston for Saturday matches and Kym Dillon for Sundays. In Perth Tim Gossage called the Saturday games and Mark Readings was on Sundays. This primarily changed I believe in 2004 when Fox primarily went to a single PBP (with so many Sunday Twilight games back to the East Coast from Perth we would often hear the Grybas lead trio). There were no specific Brisbane/Sydney based PBP callers, Matt Campbell having relocated to Melbourne when Fox started having been Ch.7's Brisbane man for about 7 years.
 

mikey127

Premiership Player
Feb 4, 2011
4,520
3,456
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Yeah Neil Brooks def did some Sydney games in the late 90's.

Some others boundary riders were Bill McDonald in Brisbane and Neil Cordy in Sydney.
 

Teagueeee15

Premiership Player
Sep 15, 2004
3,760
2,538
Melbourne
AFL Club
Carlton
Can't believe I forgot to include Sam Kekovich.

The fat one did play-by-play commentary for an Eagles v Blues match in 2004 (Andrew Walker's first match) and spent the day calling every second Eagles player "Judd".

Was embarrassing.

That's correct. Glenn Manton was special comments man that day. Manton also did the North Melbourne vs Carlton game from round 3 in 2004.

Just for the sake of documentation, Landy finished up with 7 at the end of 1999, Robertson called Friday night footy up until either 1999 or 2000, and Locket did Special Comments during 2000-01, but not limited to Sydney games.

I'm pretty sure Robertson was still commentating for seven in 2001. He did the Richmond vs Carlton semi final if I'm not mistaken, but may have been relegated away from Friday nights. He also called for Fox Footy in 2002, but only until the Carlton vs West Coast match in round 11.
 

UpForGrabs

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 23, 2006
7,003
3,363
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
New England Patriots
That's correct. Glenn Manton was special comments man that day. Manton also did the North Melbourne vs Carlton game from round 3 in 2004.

A day that will live on in commentary infamy!

I'm pretty sure Robertson was still commentating for seven in 2001. He did the Richmond vs Carlton semi final if I'm not mistaken, but may have been relegated away from Friday nights. He also called for Fox Footy in 2002, but only until the Carlton vs West Coast match in round 11.

Last I heard of Robbo was Round 2, 2002 (Judd's first game). Didn't think he handled himself too well, at one stage screaming "KICK THE BLOODY BALL!!".
 

Teagueeee15

Premiership Player
Sep 15, 2004
3,760
2,538
Melbourne
AFL Club
Carlton
A day that will live on in commentary infamy!



Last I heard of Robbo was Round 2, 2002 (Judd's first game). Didn't think he handled himself too well, at one stage screaming "KICK THE BLOODY BALL!!".

Yeah, he definitely continued til half way through 2002 and he was barracking for Carlton pretty hard in the game I was talking about. Not hard to tell why it was his last game.

 

Mighty Eagles

Premiership Player
Mar 31, 2007
3,162
568
Perth
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
East Perth
I'm pretty sure Robertson was still commentating for seven in 2001. He did the Richmond vs Carlton semi final if I'm not mistaken, but may have been relegated away from Friday nights. He also called for Fox Footy in 2002, but only until the Carlton vs West Coast match in round 11.
I was saying he stopped doing Friday night games either end of 1999 or 2000. He was with 7 until the end of 2001.
 

stmookeyj

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 9, 2002
16,044
940
Queensland
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
1999 was the last year Robbo did FNF (team that year was generally Bruce, Robbo, Dunstall, John Russo and Dipper. Sandy did one game when Bruce was covering the World Athletics Championships). 2000 team was generally Bruce, Dermie and Dunstall. 2001 was generally Bruce, Walls and Dermie, although the Round 5 FNF game apparently had Ben Allan fill in for Dermie with the game in Perth (saw a related highlights package YouTube video recently). It wasn't until the mid 1990s (when FNF became a weekly event) that a specific team covered the game (although Dennis did most Eagles FNF games).
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad