The Flack

The Good and Bad of AFL Commentators

Posted March 28, 2013 by Flack Guest in Sport
AFL comentators

The beginning of the AFL season is upon us again (in fact at the time of writing this the season has already begun for four teams). This means for millions of people around the country the thrill of the build-up before the opening siren, as their heroes launch into the season.

This is not always a welcomed time of year for a lot of people, as folk everywhere (commonly referred to as Football Widows) lose partners, family and friends to games live, games on TV, fantasy football, listening to the football or reading about football. Once you get this person’s attention all they want to talk to you about is the Federal treasury’s fiscal responsibility to the Australian Public. Only joking, they want to talk about serious issues, Australian Rules Football.

With the beginning of the season so begins the media saturation across television, radio and the printed press that goes hand in hand with every season. So if you’re a football tragic or a football virgin, we here at The Flack have devised an AFL Media form guide to help you cut to the chase and listen to the best sports journalism has to offer (an oxymoron I know) and to avoid the un-informed, illiterate and just plain biased.

Lets start with the good

Gerard Whateley

Besides having the nose and body of Monty Burns, Gerard is arguably the best football writer and commentator in the country. Splitting his time between the ABC , Foxtel and the Herald Sun (a very weird combination of employers to say the least) . This man is intelligent, compassionate, articulate and usually attacks most AFL issues with a level and well measured approach (a rarity in the AFL journalist racquet). Has assembled a fantastic team for his Saturday commentary team on the ABC and a very good team on his Foxtel show AFL 360 (except for co-host Mark “Robbo” Robinson: we’ll get to him later)

David King

I hated this guy as a player, I mean I HATED him! He was a thug, a smart arse, played for North Melbourne and always saved his best for Richmond Football Club. As a media commentator and analyst, he is one of the best. He has a knack of taking the gobbledegook that is the modern football lexicon and explaining it, in a way that is not only easy to understand but also entertaining. Part of the Whateley family on AFL 360 and has moved across from the ABC to SEN and Fox Footy, he brings an intelligent voice to both networks.

Mark Maclure

I’m sure Mr Maclure would be on a lot of people’s lists of their most hated men in football based on his playing career. As a commentator however,  he is honest, straight down the line, is a calls-a-spade-a-spade kind of guy and gives great insight into how players and coaches feel about certain situations. Again, he is a part of the ABC’s Saturday afternoon commentary team and also a part-time contributor on AFL 360 as well.

Robert Murphy

Everyone loves Bob Murphy, whether it’s at a Tim Rogers show or assistant coach to Paul Kelly at the Community Cup or sweeping out of a half back flank for the Western Bulldogs, Bob is just great! His media career so far is just as good. He has been writing a weekly column in The Age for the last four or five years, allowing for an insight of  a players life from day to day. He has carried his laid back and humorous style onto a weekly spot on AFL 360 also.

And now the “people” to stay away from

Tony Shaw

For people who know me , this may come across as bias against Collingwood. Anyone who has heard Tony Shaw open his mouth will know that it is not.

There are a lot – and I mean a lot – of  terrible commentators out there, but this guy is the king! Poor pronunciation, poor communication skills (pretty important skill in the media), poor knowledge. He’s a premiership captain for Christ’s sake, but he offers no insights, doesn’t know any players’ names, has no idea how football is coached in 2013. Just an all-around nuff nuff. Try to avoid his call on Fox Footy at any cost.

Caroline Wilson

One word sums up Caroline … miserable. She seems to hate football even though it’s her job to follow it. I imagine this began at an early age when her dad was sacked as president of Richmond Football Club in 1985, and carried on to the present day. She seems to detest most things about football, including but are not restricted to Dane Swan, North Melbourne, Dustin Martin, North Melbourne, Tackling, North Melbourne, boys getting hurt and North Melbourne. Again, avoid her column in The Age whenever possible.

Kevin Bartlett

This guy … where do I start with this guy. Terrible, just a terrible commentator on the SEN commentary team, highlighted last year when he managed to mispronounce Fremantle Docker Tendai Mzungu’s name six to seven different times – with as many pronunciations – in the one match! He also uses his morning show on SEN radio to protect all of his interests and views, such as using his morning monologue to defend the AFL rules committee (of which he is a member) and the talkback line to berate anyone who disagrees with said rules committee. Best to get all your work done between 9 and 12 am during the week so you don’t have to listen to this crap.

Mark Robinson

This is the big daddy of them all (literally). Mark Robinson can barely speak English. It might be worthwhile checking him out on AFL 360 just to experience for yourself how truly terrible this guy is. None of his opinions are his own, he goes off on tangents that make no sense , like your drunk uncle (or druncle as like to call him) at a Christmas party trying to explain why Cold Chisel are a more important band than The Strokes and passing out halfway through his second sentence. This guy is a “Big Boy” of the highest order. Rude, arrogant, undereducated, self-involved, halfwit who has somehow fallen arse over tit (as Robbo himself I’m sure would put it) into the chief football writer’s job at the Herald Sun. He also blocked me on twitter , which I thought wasn’t very nice.

So there you have it, the best and the worst the AFL has to offer. Take heed my friends, because the advice I give to you here could make the difference between a happy or unhappy season. May your team have a great season and happy footballing!

Damian Gibson is the author the blog , and a football (and Richmond fanatic ) he should not be approached while watching football or eating a Parma.



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Flack Guest