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An Open Letter to Channel 7’s Commentary Team

Wowee, a centimetre perfect Open Letter from the boy out of the Star of the Sea Stingrays, letting the Channel Seven crew know exactly how they’ve been in the first nine rounds of the season. It’s special! Take it away tbetta! (Actually, it’s RLGriffin! Sorry: just pulled a Tony Shaw).

Every Monday night DTTalk’s regular GWS guru @RLGriffin85 steps up to the plate to articulate the thoughts of AFL Dream Team coaches everywhere. Be it pointing the finger of blame at Senior AFL Coaches, setting a fire below underperforming players or just throw away comments about how bad Zac ‘Lurch’ Dawson really is; there’s no topic he isn’t willing to write about! Who’s in his sights this week?

An Open Letter to: Channel 7’s Commentary Team


Dear Channel Seven,

In a recent poll held by The Age, 17,551 people voted on if they are happy “with Channel Seven’s AFL coverage”; twelve percent were. If it wasn’t for Dennis Cometti learning how to use the internet recently, I’d say the votes cast in favour would have been much, much lower.

Now I know with any job there will be teething problems. I know that when you cross live to Cameron Ling like you did on Saturday night to ask him about a late withdrawal, getting more than a stunned look and a stuttering of slurred names is an achievement, but don’t pretend that you have not been in the job before.

Friday night specialist, Bruce McAvaney, is one of the most knowledgeable men in the commentary the game, but if I got as excited as him every time Cyril got near the ball, my wife would start testing me by asking if I wanted to watch Barbra Streisand movies or go to a flower arrangement seminar. On the mic’s Bruce is paired with Denis Cometti, a man who has better one liners than Charlie Sheen. Separately they add brilliance to any broadcast, but the best pairing in the channel seven line up have clearly been given free reign, and by the second quarter, it’s like listening to an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Although entertaining, for ones sanity, exposure can only last for so long before you just want to hear about the football… or bury your head under water. How about some balance?

Then you have Brian Taylor, the man with the mo from Punt Road, who needs to inform viewers of the a made up nickname and playing locality of each and ever player in just about each and every call. Wowee! I know you are obviously trying to re-school some of the commentary team but if B.T. spent as much time at English lessons as he did in geography then he would learn the pronunciation of e.Vahn (not Eye-Van) Maric, and learn to put the Euro (EU) in Hawthorns super-sub BRSSSSST. Imagine that; Wowee!

Tony Shaw obviously is the reason for modern day concussion tests, as half the time his calls don’t even match what’s actually happening on the field. Leigh Matthews plays his role well, presuming his role is to depress the audience with continuous negative comments about players, and amongst it all, Tom Harley is doing one of the best jobs because he is actually watching the game, even if he can’t articulate it without repeating back the exact wording of every cross he receives. Then you’ve got the new boys!

I’ve already mentioned underperforming recruit Cameron “Droopy Dog” Ling, a man who would find the term ‘a face for radio’ a compliment, but let’s add Bret Kirk to the mix. Kirk, who is one of the games best personalities gave his all on the field, but the only thing he’s been giving me lately is headaches with outfits that would make Beetlejuice cringe. Personally, I’d prefer stare at John Anthony’s forehead whilst he talks about how sad it is that Ross Lyon doesn’t recognise him in post match functions than his wardrobe. But that’s not even the worst part.

When I was in primary school I used to eat craft glue; not as a regular thing, but I was curious, and one day during arts and craft, a had a taste. My teacher called me a “unique individual”. I’m pretty sure she meant I had the IQ of a hamster. Brett Kirk recognised that the commentary team is a set of “unique individuals” recently in a monologue that would make Chris Klein’s acting seem dynamic and Oscar worthy. In an impassioned speech of verbs and adverbs, Kirk managed to make me more excited about cleaning out the scum in the bottom of the fridge than watching Saturday afternoon football. For crying out loud, how hard is it to find people who will just call the game? Dermott Brereton is sounding like a genius over on Fox Footy, and he’s had more blows to the head than a urinal at Oktoberfest.

But it’s not all bad; at least we can put it on mute and watch the footage right? You know, if you like watching a Michael Bay directed music clip of pixellated men following around a blurry dot. I haven’t been more confused on action wide shots and close ups since watching Transformers 2 whilst drunk in a cinema in Kunming in China. And that was dubbed in Mandarin! The quality of the broadcast is just as crap visually as it is audibly.

So as the team exchanges “ideas, thoughts and even their energy” fans exchange cringes, gawks and even their horror at how bad this team is going. “Just like you, we care, just like you, we’re passionate about the game”, but unlike you, we don’t accept the poor quality of this great game as ‘teething issues’ that are acceptable. Unless your excuse is Mark Neeld is at the helm, make some changes and bring in some talent. Otherwise… Ah crap. We’re stuck with you for five more years, aren’t we? Shit. Well, just make sure you don’t bring in Carolyn Wilson!




The Wider AFL Community


Ps. I would have mentioned the poor showing of team sheets, the low definition broadcast and constant replays more, but this is a letter, not a thesis. I’ll leave that to those who comment on this letter instead. Pick up your game seven!

Born Adelaide, Lived Darwin, Resides Canberra. A Crows fan as a child, I have became a big supporter of the GWS Giants in their foundation year. I love my footy, multimedia design and beer(s).



  1. Avatar


    May 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Find it a bit hypocritical that you say Leigh Matthews depresses the audience with continuous negative comments about players, etc. When you spend an abundance of time every week writing a marathon letter ragging and whinging on anything and everything you can think of.

    I rate your writing skills man and realise dt talk members appreciate new articles to read on the site. But what are some of the good or exciting things happening in footy at the moment? Or who is doing a fantastic job and deserves a pump up in the footy community. Would be interesting to see if you could add another string to your bow.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Avatar


      May 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      For some of us DT is one of the few hobbies we can enjoy whilst living a busy life; and with competition comes the full gamut of emotions.

      We want to read about the blood and guts, dummy spits and tantrums!

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    May 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I love the niggling agro thing between Richo and Darcy. Not as good as Bill & Tony, but getting there..

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    May 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Great Letter Mr RLGriffin.
    I have 2 words for mainly WA viewers: Drew Banfield! Does anyone rememer this car crash of a bondary riding debut. Champion footballer, champion guy, SHITHOUSE boundary rider, halfway through the cross, you could see, he almost did a Mal Meninga, you could see him thinking “I can’t do this shit!” He was absolutely stunned, mubled and at times incoherent, he just wasn’t cut out for a career in the media. Needless to say it was a very shortlived career, still could’ve pulled on the boots for the Eagles though.

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    May 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    We need an Open Letter to Matthew Primus begging him to Please please play Redden in round 11

    • Avatar


      May 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      Agreed! With big O back in favour it has releaved the stress of an emergency ruckman.

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    May 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Griff, I am hijacking this open letter. All scholars are held at machete point until it can be proved for once and for all that the pen is mightier than the sword. I need you to role play. Assume you are me. You have James McDonald, Adam Treloar and Devon Smith. Which two of these lads would you keep with an eye mainly on their relevance after the bye? It is taken for granted that they will all invariably miss games but it seems quite logical that JMac will only feature as frequently as the other two. What do you think?

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    May 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I get so p!ssed off listening to channel 7 commentary team, DAMN I want to hear what is going on “who has the ball & what team” i,e. Hall has it which Hall is Freo v’s Eagles.
    Brain”MUPPET”Taylor can’t even get the players name right. I don’t want to hear him say what he thinks a player is thinking & if I hear him mention the WEAPON again I will throw the remote @ our 40″ tv, that way I’ll have an excuse to get an 80″ tv & might be able to see what is happening on the field of play.
    Now even my mrs asks me to put the radio on instead of having to listen to the channel 7 commentary.
    even MMM is p!ssing me off talk about the game leave all the bullshit for 1/2 time, not when play is going on.

    774 & 693 do the best job these days

    Brian Taylor you are the biggest MUPPET of all commentators.

    • Avatar


      May 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      p,s. sorry great article Griff

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    May 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    RLGriffin you missed out the elephant in the room. 7’s very poor ability to hold the camera straight or even at the play. When the footy was on 9 they were hands down the best camera men in the business. They have all gone to Fox. Understandable 7 are trying to create a genuine footy experience for the viewers at home, problem being there just not hitting the nail on the head, bashing everywhere but the nail. With putting up a lazy bill for the footy rights I would have thought they would also bring on the best people onboard.

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    Archer 77

    May 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    This article is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Thanks for writing what the majority of us are thinking.

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    Shaun Dawgs

    May 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    One of the top comments: “WTF was that shit?  Kirky you’re a bloody boundary rider, your jib is to tell us about injuries and substitutions, not to give some quasi-intellectual corporate speech.”

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    May 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    So we all saw the missed Riewoldt goal on Saturday? I had to make sure I wasn’t going mad, when Riewoldt took a hanger, want back to take his shot, ad break. Only to return from the ad to show the mark on replay… Not knowing if he’d kicked the goal or not. Atrocious coverage.

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    May 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    This quote should go down in history:

    “Brett Kirk recognised that the commentary team is a set of “unique individuals” recently in a monologue that would make Chris Klein’s acting seem dynamic and Oscar worthy.”

  12. Avatar

    Sammy J

    May 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Gotta love the Megawall, which they’ve persisted with for some reason.

    “Here you go, here’s a million tiny screens focussing on random shit that we’ll show you for 4 seconds before cutting to something else.”

    Cutting edge stuff!

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    May 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Love it RL…..

    I’m dumbfounded why they persist with SD broadcasts….I simply can’t watch them on my 55′ TV.

    Even the Foxtel broadcast is hard (but workable) when they upscale it…but nothing compared to true HD.

    7 sucks.


  14. Avatar


    May 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Best letter so far.

    The worst thing about the broadcast is their ground-level shots. The ball moves too quick for them to keep up and we miss half the action.

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    May 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    thank God we have fox.
    7 constantly advertise how great their coverage is – “it’s live and it’s free”. Well some games are live – they obviously think no-one is watching on Sat arvo hence don’t know that it is on an hour’s delay. It’s free – well just as well – you wouldn’t bloody pay for it, would you.
    I’ve already sent a letter to the AFL as to what a disgrace it is that you have to wait till 6.23pm on Thursday to NOT see what changes are made to your side (unless you barrack for Collingwood or Essendon.)

  16. feathertopDT


    June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Griff man Tony Shaw works for Fox

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