There were four seconds to go when Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin dropped the final ball to go inside 50 between Hawthorn and North Melbourne in Round 10, 2012.
With 12 goals already under his belt, he had already kicked his career-high total.
On his left foot around the body, Buddy kicks goal number 13 on the siren sending everyone in hysterics, including commentator Anthony Hudson who made the call that’s remained memorable nine years on.
Hudson said that while he didn’t prepare at half time, which at that stage Buddy had kicked six already, he knew that something great was about to unfold.
“There was definitely a sense of something pretty special going on,” Hudson told The Inner Sanctum.
“I don’t know I was preparing for anything, but just excited that he’s kicked a lot of goals. We were already into an era where there wasn’t as many big bags of goals kicked so it was pretty exciting.
“I certainly remember how exciting it was that a full forward was kicking a lot of goals and it was only half time.”
The art of being a great commentator is to tell the story of what’s happening on the field, and not to distract from the game. In moments like Buddy’s 13th, it would have been easy to ruin the moment.
Thankfully, Hudson did the moment justice, and when thinking back on some of the best commentary of this century, 13 remains one of the best.
“It’s always the challenge [to not distract from the game] and I mean, I thought he was done, he had kicked 12 and I thought I called that pretty good and then the 13th was just so unexpected.”
A good job he did. Hudson admits that he did not expect the call to remain as iconic as it has all these years.
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“When there’s big moments, you do hope that your commentary lives up to the moment, and ideally enhances the moment. Ask any commentator about big moments, and the first thing they’ll say is don’t stuff it up,” he said.
“Big moments, you’re ready for probably in Grand Final or big matches, but it was a Saturday afternoon at Launceston, no one was not expecting there was going to be a big moment like that.”
Hudson’s Buddy 13 call was not the only game he’s called with a late goal kicked.
In the 2005 semi-final against Sydney and Geelong, Hudson screams ‘I see it, but I don’t believe it’, as Nick Davis scored the Swans match winner.
In 2013, Ash McGrath celebrated his 200th game by kicking a goal on the siren against the Cats that gave the Lions their ‘miracle on grass’ victory.
One thing that both these games have in common is that Hudson commentated against the team he supports, the Cats, yet no one would be able to tell where his support lied out of the commentary world.
Hudson said that as a commentator, you have to be mindful of the words you said because even when just doing his job, listeners will look into it and say that he, or any other commentator, would choose a side.
“People will say you’re barracking for a team on any given day, one person will say your barracking for one team, and other will say your barracking for the other,” he said.
“When it comes to your team, people are more sensitive about things you might say, so you do have to remind yourself.
“I’ve only ever really found it difficult when Geelong are playing badly and that’s when I get agitated like any supporter can but you do have to be conscious of it.
“Just to me, it’s just a quick reminder of myself to myself that I’m doing my job and don’t have any extra emotion, just have the normal amount of emotion and then generally it’s okay.”
It’s a combination of it just coming ‘naturally’, but having good practice over the years that has allowed Hudson to become the commentator he is today, and to create moments like ‘THIRTEEN’.
“I do think there is an element of having the natural ability to be able to have the flow of language,” he said.
“And it’s the preparing and practicing like everything else in life… working hard. But it’s not necessarily easy to get that really good practice because you can’t just walk down to the MCG microphones.
“That’s where you’ve got to find ways of doing it at home or with your friends. The more you practice, the more you improve.”
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