From Bruce McAvaney to Rex Hunt.
BetDeluxe ranks and orders the top five AFL broadcasters to have graced the airwaves.
Have we got it right?
Starting us off is Mike Williamson, OAM.
He will forever be known for his call of the 1970 VFL Grand Final, where he exclaimed, ‘Jesaulenko, you beauty!’ after Carlton champion Alex Jesaulanko rose above the hallowed turf of the MCG to take the AFL Mark of the Century.
But it was what Williamson followed up with after ‘Jezza’ took his mark that has been a forgotten bit of commentary.
As Jesaulenko landed, Williamson shouted, ‘Give him oxygen!’ in reference to how high Jezza got up into the air.
Williamson’s iconic and commanding voice captivated viewers around Australia.
St Kilda fans will also have fond memories of him having been the man to call home their only premiership to date, all the way back in 1966.
What could have been.
The tragic loss of Clinton Grybas in 2008 sent shockwaves through the AFL fraternity.
His death was felt by all and none other than his close friend and broadcasting partner Rex Hunt.
Grybas and Hunt were the kings of radio commentary.
Their camaraderie was second to none, and Grybas knew precisely how to handle Rex and his antics inside the caller’s box.
Grybas’ professionalism, knowledge, passion and entertainment when calling football put him head and shoulders above most of his calling colleagues.
He had countless classical moments behind the microphone, and often his moments of silence were precisely what we needed as viewers.
There was one play, in particular, all the way back in 2005, which saw Eddie Betts, in his first year as a Carlton player, kick a magnificent solo goal against Collingwood.
Betts picked up the ball deep inside 50, broke a few tackles, spun, weaved and then skidded home a goal on this left foot.
Grybas saying “Eddie Betts, he’ll kick a goal… put down your glasses.”
Cannot go past the dulcet tones of Dennis Cometti.
If there was anyone who could balance seriousness with wittiness it was Cometti.
He hung up the cans in 2021 after beginning his career in 1968 in Perth.
His broadcasting career would hit a peak through the early to mid 2000s and he became a staple of the Channel 7 calling team alongside Bruce McAvaney towards the twilight of his career.
As much as Williamson will be glowingly remembered by Saints fans, those same Saints fans will be haunted by Cometti’s call in the 2010 AFL Grand Final replay.
Early in the first quarter, St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt looked all but certain to kick a goal from the goal-square, until Collingwood defender Heath Shaw ‘came up him like a librarian.’
One of Dennis’ finest moments, much to the heartache of the Saints.
Good old Rexy.
He revolutionised AFL broadcasting.
Rex Hunt was and still is revered as the greatest ever radio voice to give us AFL.
His nicknames for players and his entertainment captivated audiences around the country.
Here is a quick list of his famous nicknames for players;
– Mil Hanna: ‘The Cranium’
– Leon Davis: ‘Neon Leon”
– David Neitz: “Nice and Neitz”
– Matthew Richardson: “Richo Man”
– Anthony Koutoufides” Koutou-fighter-medes”
– Gary Ablett Jnr.: “YABLETT”
– Lance Whitnall: “Big Red”
– Cameron Mooney: “The Big Hairy Cat”
Rexy was probably most famous for his rendition of ‘The Fat Lady.’
Other famous Rex-isms include giving names to certain scores.
11.11.77 was “Lord Nelson.”
8.8.56 was “Brother”
10.9.69 was “Lemon Chicken”
There are two moments that stick in the mind with Rexy.
But one of his finest moments would be saved for the 2005 AFL Semi-Final between Sydney and Geelong, which saw Nick Davis kick the match-winning goal with only seconds remaining.
Bruce is the GOAT.
He retired from football calling in 2021 and he still sorely missed by fans.
Even if he was not honoured in the Logie Hall of Fame over the weekend, he is still the best to ever do it.
He had it all.
The love for Aussie Rules.
The relentless pursuit of stories within a game.
The ‘painting of the picture’ even though we could see what was going on.
The thing that set Bruce apart from the rest was his understanding of what the fans wanted.
He got excited when big passages of play occurred, just like a fan at home or in the grandstands would.
Bruce was the culmination of all football fans embodied in one person.
The statistician. The nuffie. The loud one. The quiet one.
He is more than just “SPECIAL.”
Have a listen at some of his greatest highlights.