In 1995 my Saturdays were spent playing the last of my 8 years of inadequate footy with the Glenhuntly Footy Club reserves, before nicking off with a few others to “half time club” at the nearest Sky Channel carrying local, while my income was derived by turning up on building sites and plying my trade of a fire protection sprinkler fitter.
In 1996 I was working at biggest TV show in the country, Channel 9’s AFL Footy Show and as “Racetrack Ralphy” was a panel member on Melbourne’s highest rating radio show, Triple M’s The Grill Team.
A natural progression.
Thus began my 12 year AFL media career where my roles in TV progressed to “being Sam Newman’s bloke” and on the weekend Supervising Producer of The Sunday Footy Show.
While in radio a rolling series of high and lows included being appointed Triple M’s first ever game day footy reporter in 1997 as they became FM’s first ever AFL coverage.
The peak of that time was an explosive half time interview with Melbourne president Joe Gutnick who I’d tracked down in a “Waverley Park Superbox” with our superior broadcasting equipment that extended beyond the string and wood AM radio stations were using.
“My” Demons were getting belted and Mr Gutnick said “heads will roll” which they did with coach Neil Balme gone within days.
However neither I nor Waverley lasted the decade either, while “Diamond Joe” also gone not long after.
During my time in footy I had become great mates with Crawf through our shared passion for horseracing and creating champagne comedy gold on The Footy Show.
James and I always had a great relationship and he was very generous to me through any media requests I made to him through this time, two things prevented us ever being close:
Height and intellect.
This podcast has me returning to my media roots.
Bulldust aside, now that racing has gone from my passion to my full time job, AFL has flipped around to my outlet and I’m a forty something with the same love of the game I had when watching Robbie Flower on the wing every Saturday.
I simply see my role as combining both my media and fan backgrounds to getting the knowledge, passion, humour and anecdotes out of two of the greatest players the sport has ever seen.