The state of the commentary in the AFL right now is at its lowest.
For a long time, football fans have seen some greats of the game go by, but in more recent times, we’ve had to deal with cringeworthy catchphrases and over injecting their personalities where it doesn’t belong.
Growing up, I was blessed with listening to some of the best.
Bruce McAvaney, Anthony Hudson, Stephen Quartermain and the late Clinton Grybas.
There’s a common denominator among those four commentators.
They never played the game at the highest level. Yet, they were, and some still are, the best.
Lately, what AFL commentary has become is more of a ‘boys club’ mentality, with borderline barracking for sides and particular players over the traditional calls.
The desperation to make moments happen and try to spur something on.
I’ll give you the hot tip, football fans aren’t idiots.
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Commentary is about complimenting what is going on on the field.
We see it all the time in basketball, commentators are known as the ‘voice’ of the particular sport, because they do their job and compliment the talent which people tune in for.
People don’t tune in for the commentary, but I’m sure as hell lately some have been tuning out.
Football is another key example. Brenton Speed’s terrific call of Riley McGree’s scorpion kick was one of those.
Mid-analysis, suddenly cut off with pure ecstasy and astonishment.
The reaction isn’t fabricated, it’s genuine, it’s real, it’s what most people felt as they watched it unfold.
One of the more recent examples of AFL commentary going down the gurgler is what happened on Friday night with Shai Bolton’s Mark of the Year candidate.
It was one of the most remarkable marks we have seen, but it was left with minimal excitement from Brian Taylor.
We compare it to Bruce McAvaney 20 years ago as Gary Moorcroft soared over Brad Johnson to take arguably the greatest mark of all time.
Those videos compared side by side shows the decline we’ve seen in our commentary.
Now, we move onto the ‘boys club’ mentality that is some commentary teams.
As AFL fans, we understand who the stars are. We watch them each and every week.
I’m sure new people tuning in don’t find it that difficult to understand who the stars are either.
The over the top mentions of Dustin Martin when Richmond plays, Eddie Betts when Carlton plays, Lance Franklin when Sydney plays – we know they’re out there.
We don’t need consistent predictions that they’re going to do something magical. We know their talents, we know what they’re capable of.
Fans don’t need barracking of particular players to do remarkable things, just call what is going on in front of our faces.
We also all appreciate an underdog story. However, that shouldn’t mean the team which is putting on a clinic should be disregarded.
Time and time again, when teams are more than likely out of it, they’re being egged on by commentators to try and keep it interesting.
I’m sorry but a team five goals down with five minutes to go ain’t doing much. Unless they actually start doing something, then get yourselves all revved up.
Call it as it happens and let the moments happen naturally.
Analysis and views are good and some of the current day special commentators are terrific.
Luke Hodge’s views on the game have been an unbelievable addition to the Channel 7 team, while Daisy Pearce and Abbey Holmes are similar.
Kill off the catch phrases, commentate what’s going on and take the back seat to what is really the action – the game on the ground.
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