Streaming Dave Redden

by Rod Gillett

   Dave Redden (left) with Sam Zickman calling football

AFL Sydney games are the only competition outside the AFL streamed by Kayo local sport.

And its attracting a viewing audience in the thousands apart from Sydney viewers, according to AFL Sydney Community football manager, Sam Zikman, who was instrumental in securing the Kayo deal for AFL Sydney.

The streaming service provides local footy fans with televised access to games that has not been witnessed since 1980 when the grand final between East Sydney and North Shore at the Sydney Cricket Ground was shown live by Channel 7.

And the big man behind the mic is broadcaster Dave Redden who took up calling the footy when given the opportunity by Newcastle AFL administrator Garry Burkinshaw in 2015.

Dave started with Burkinshaw calling the Black Diamond league (now Hunter Central Coast) and recalls that his first match was at Nelson Bay for Bar TV a live streaming service in the Newcastle area.

Next season Dave then took over from Garry Burkinshaw fand was joined by seventeen-year-old schoolboy Lucas Holmes, in a partnership that continues now that Redden is calling AFL Sydney Premier men’s and women’s games on Kayo. Sam Zikman fills in when Lucas is not available.

“I recall coming across Dave calling the 2020 Hunter Central Coast grand final between Terrigal-Avoca and Newcastle City at Tumbi Umbi when I was a guest of the league and seated comfortably in the Granland Rooms perched up on the 2nd floor overlooking the ground.” article author, Rod Gillett said.

“Dave was calling the game from in the time-keeper’s room and emerged at half-time for a quick break when he spotted me and came over to say hello.” We have known each other a long time both through football and as work colleagues at the University of Technology, in Sydney.

“I was struck by what a good voice he’s got for calling footy; deep and smooth with the ability to edge up the excitement level without screaming. He is also very good at pronouncing the players’ names. Importantly, he has innate knowledge and understanding of the game.”

This was honed at his first club, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United Eastakes, and later refined at Sydney University, and then with the Orange Tigers in the Central West AFL, where he was also league secretary from 1992-2000.

“Dave has not mimicked other callers and makes his own decisions about how to communicate during the call. He believes in showing emotion in the call to demonstrate his investment in the game for which he is extremely passionate.”

He calls off the screen as this is more accurate and reflects exactly what the viewer is seeing.

Dave Redden has also developed his own terms based on his strong interest in all sports. One of his classic lines is, “It’s a nutmeg” from soccer when a ball goes through a player’s legs.

His occasional co-commentator Sam Zikman, who had also called games with Dave in the Hunter Central Coast league, went straight to Dave to come down from Woy Woy to call the games in Sydney when the Kayo deal was struck.

Sam told me, “Dave is just so professional. He fully prepares for each call and makes us an effort to get to know the players. He engages with players and the coaches prior to games.”

He’s great to work with because he has such a sound knowledge of the game and the incredible ability to transmit what is happening in the game to the viewer on their device”, added Sam, who provides special comments. They work well together, with mutual respect.

As for the best ground to call from in Sydney Dave nominates Manly Warringah’s Weldon Oval, mainly because its indoors in the club rooms overlooking the oval. Sydney University’s No 1 Oval is also a favourite due to its setting, “I can feel the tradition!”, declared Dave.

AFL Sydney is streaming more than 55 matches on Kayo in 2022. You can see which ones here.

Sydney Football Season Tickets and Attendances

Prior to about 1990 or so, admission to Sydney Premier Division football games was by payment to a gateman.

Before about 1980, the NSW Football League (now AFL Sydney), used to hire the grounds, pay the gatemen and collect the admission fees.  This went on for almost 80 years.  Then, following the 1978 coup in the administration of the Sydney competition, clubs took over the job of manning the gate and took the takings.  They then had to hire their grounds and pay higher affiliation fees. In the end this all got too hard and the gate takings were minimal, particularly when VFL games were played in Sydney on a regular basis.

Up to about the mid sixties clubs could purchase a season ticket from the league which they would then onsell to their supporters.  This provided the club with finance and the purchaser would get his or her season admission a little cheaper.

We have here, two season tickets.  A Lady’s Season Ticket from the St George Club in the 1930s when their colours were black and gold and another from the Sydney University Club issued in the early fifties:

When the league operated the gates, a member of the League’s Board of Management would be rostered as ground manager and it was his job to open the ground, get the scoreboard operating, put the pads on the goalposts, set up the gateman with a float and Football Records and issue the footballs to the umpires.  Sometimes these ‘ground managers’ also had positions in the participating club so it was easy to roster a person to a game where his club was playing.

The League Board of Management would then meet each Monday Night during the football season where the money would be counted and eventually banked.

These ground admission fees were the main source of income for the league and it meant that clubs paid a minimal affiliation fee to the parent body.  If there was ample money left over at the end of the season, it would be spread equally between all clubs.  This didn’t occur too often.

There is no admission fee charged these days;  entry is free to all games.

You can see in these graphs how the attendance at games in Sydney skyrocketed during WWII.  This was because there were quite a number of interstate servicemen station in and around Sydney and a number of these, including many from the VFL, SANFL & WANFL played for Sydney clubs.  Besides this, in a new initiative, the match of the round was played on a Sunday, normally at Trumper Park.  This was a real attraction to football with Aussie Rules being the first of the winter codes to introduce these Sunday games and this was not without some opposition.


Raconteurs Provide Laughs and Footy Insights

Written by Dr Rodney Gillett

         Greg “Huey” Harris (left) was in scintillating form
interviewed by Simon Kelly at the lunch

The NSW Football History Society first annual lunch and awards event at the Magpies Sports Club yesterday (14 December) proved very popular and an outstanding success by the Society.  Members and guests were regaled with stories by East Sydney legends Greg Harris and 89-year old Ray Millington in interviews with Simon Kelly about their footy careers and playing at the SCG.

You can listen to the The Greg Harris Interview here.

In welcoming the forty-five members and guests from across the Sydney football community including former players, officials and umpires, Society president Ian Granland provided a brief overview of the role of the Society and highlighted some achievements for 2021 including ongoing editorial work, digitising records, preserving trophies and photos, and the purchase of two Phelan medals which were on display along with premiership flags and cups.

A further highlight was the announcement by the Society’s Heritage sub-committee chair Paul McPherson, that the Sydney Cricket Ground, at which Australian Football has been played on since 1881, as the first entry on the Society’s newly established Heritage registry.

Society vice-president and chair of the Publications awards sub-committee, Rod Gillett announced the winners of the awards:

The Gus McKernan Award
The Gus McKernan Award is given to the annual report or yearbook by a club or league or an associated body such as a junior competition or an umpires’ association judged by the Society to be the best produced in that year. The winner is awarded the Society’s certificate and the sum of $250.

Because of the difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic over the last 18 months, for this year’s awards, the Awards Sub-Committee accepted nominations for these publications reporting on any of the years 2019, 2020 and also, where these are already published, 2021.

Consequently, two awards were made this year. Another yearbook nominated for the award was judged worthy of the Society’s ‘Highly Commended’ certificate.

The award is sponsored by Gus’s great mate from football and former insurance magnate,Simon Kelly. 

         Rod Gillett presents the award to Leigh
    Gazzard on
behalf of the Moore Park Tigers
                 Junior Football Club

The winning organisation for the Gus McKernan Award for a yearbook for 2019 was the Moore Park Tigers Junior Australian Football Club

The Sub-Committee considered this an exemplary annual report for that of junior clubs and organisations using proprietary software to easily produce a very professional finished product. Besides providing all necessary information for readers to judge the club’s success, excellent illustrations and appropriate recognition for the club’s many volunteers, was particularly noteworthy for the brief, reflective and supportive reports on all players in each team. This feature of the yearbook concept is likely to encourage young players to continue playing our game.

Rod Gillett presents the award to Leigh Gazzard for Moore Park Tigers

The Gus McKernan Award for a yearbook for 2020

Gus McKernan
   The late Gus McKernan

Pennant Hills Australian Football Club won this award

The Pennant Hills Demons produce a lavishly illustrated, well produced yearbook in both hard copy and digital formats. It contains excellent reports by the President, Secretary, General Manager, Football Manager and the coaches of each team. It includes full reports on awards, staff and team officials in each grade and will remain a work to be consulted by Demons fans and football historians for years to come. Of particular note, is a full ladder for every grade in which the club competes.    You can view the report here.

It is especially appropriate that Pennant Hills receive a Gus McKernan award because of Gus’s long involvement with and support for the Demons.

 Peter Clark’s book on the  Rannock Football Club    Society Vice President, Rod Gillett presenting certificate to Pennant Hills FC icon, Col Huggins   Highly commended certificate to the Charles Sturt University   Club on the Evolution of the          Bushpigs & Bushsows

The Gus McKernan Award – Highly Commended
To receive a Highly Commended certificate is the Mangoplah Cookardinia United-Eastlakes Goannas Football and Netball Club     

The MCUE Club produced a colourful and interesting yearbook for 2021. Primarily directed at its own community, it includes a wealth of detail and excellent, although uncaptioned, photographs. It has well written reports an each of its teams, details of award winners and lists of office bearers. It will have been welcomed, and will be kept, by current players and their families and supporters.

The Harry Hedger Award

           Harry Hedger, MBE

The Harry Hedger Award is given to the best football historical work in NSW. This may take the form of a league or club history or a biography of a prominent personality in the history of the game in NSW. It can be a book, website, blog or extended essay. The winner is awarded the Society’s certificate and the sum of $250.

Again because of the difficulties caused by Covid, for this year the Awards Sub-Committee accepted nominations for works published in any 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The award is sponsored by Paul Feain of Sydney Rare Book Auctions.

The Harry Hedger Award for 2021
The winner is the Peter Clark for his book In the True Sporting Spirit: the history of the Rannock Football Club

This book was clearly a work of love. The Rannock Football Club ceased playing over fifty years ago and Rannock itself, like so many small rural towns is now a community of a mere 103 souls. But, through diligent, extended work in newspaper records, and with the help of some surviving archival material preserved in the community, Peter was able to compile a detailed chronological record of a of football club that played in six different leagues in the 41 years of its existence. The Rannock Football Club was an example the sort of team that formed the sporting backbone of the Riverina (and indeed all country Australia) for most of the twentieth century. Thanks to this work, Rannock now stands as a metaphor for all lost country football clubs.

The award winner Peter Clark kindly used the prize money to become a Benefactor member of the Society. A big congratulations and thank you goes out to Peter.

The Harry Hedger Award – Highly Commended
To receive a Highly Commended certificate is the Charles Sturt University Football & Netball Club for its history of the club, The Evolution of the Bushpigs & Bushsows

The Bushpigs and Bushsows have compiled a wonderful tribute on the fiftieth anniversary of the club. Pieces by well-known football historians, Paul Daffey and Rod Gillett are joined by extracts from Riverina newspapers and the reflections of club stalwarts as well as photographs covering the span of the club’s history to make a well-rounded club history.

Phtotgraphs at the function were taken by Leigh Gazzard

Over 200 Coreen & Dist Football League Match Programmes Online

Following a call out to members of the public, the NSW Australian Football History Society have received and scanned over 200 Coreen and District Football League, Football Records, dating back to 1953.

Most of these came from Corowa based, Allan Norman who published a book on the Coreen League some years ago and they make fascinating reading.

The vast majority of the publications, most of which include several from each year, relate to finals matches whilst a few provide details of inter-league games and two newsletters from the former, Rand Football Club.

These selection of match programmes can be reached at this site:

In some seasons however, including 1953,54,59 and 1994 there are only single copies and the Football History Society would dearly love to add the other issues published in those years to their collection.  Should you know of the location of any of these, please contact the Society.

These Coreen Records bring the total of Football Records from around the state to around 4,000 now on line. Interestingly, links to these publications have been picked up by both the NSW and Victoria State Libraries.

Society Members Return To Office Work

With the lifting of the lockdown in Greater Sydney, Society officials were permitted back into their rooms at Magpie Sports, Croydon Park.

The group only attends the location once per week and there is always detail and material to deal with.

Here treasurer, John Addison is working on the books to present to a committee meeting next Tuesday while data entry committeeperson, Heather White was caught revising some of the many photographs on the Society’s website.

As time moves forward and people are permitted greater freedom in their activities there will be more joining the group at Magpie Sports of a Tuesday.

As an addendum to the Society’s auction purchase of the two 80 year old Phelan Medals last week, a number of the committee have signified their intention to subscribe towards the costs incurred in the acquisition.

History Society Chasing Murray Football League Records

The NSW Australian Football History Society is looking to add to its collection of material on the game within the state by seeking access to Murray Football League match day programmes

Amongst the Society’s collection are almost 4000 Sydney and Riverina match programmes including the ‘Crier’, ‘Sou Wester’ and ‘Aussie Ruler’.  All have been digitally scanned and are viewable on the Society’s website by clicking here.

More recently over 70 Hume Football League Records have been added to the collection and these are also viewable on the website along with similar items from the Central Coast and Newcastle.

There are also a significant number of Broken Hill Football League Budgets from 1966-69 which have been scanned and included in the Society’s online collection however attempts to acquire more such publications from the ‘Hill has fallen on deaf ears.

What the Society is now seeking are copies of the Murray Football League’s weekly football record.  If you have copies or know where some are and are keen to see their preservation, please contact the Society’s president, Ian Granland on 0412798521.  Once scanned, they will be returned to the owner and a link to their online location will be provided to the local library.  “Don’t let the kids chuck them out.

There has been much movement of clubs over the years in leagues like the Murray FL,  Currently NSW clubs in the league number five which include: Mulawa, Deninilquin Rams, Moama, Barooga and Finley.

“We are also chasing football club history books” Mr Granland said.  “We have a few but want to add more to our digital repository and make them available online.  Again, we are happy to pay and we feel this is a very important exercise in maintaining the history of football in NSW.”

Also don’t forget the Society awards for recent publications on Australian Football in NSW, whether printed, digital or podcast and also the annual award for the best club/league annual report or yearbook.

Neil Cordy At The SCG In the Media

As footy celebrates 140 years at the SCG former Footscray and Sydney Swans defender, and media commentator, Neil Cordy reflects on his 40 years active involvement at the ground. In this second instalment he looks back at his days working in the media.

         Neil Cordy at the SCG Reporting for Channel 7

Being able to play footy for the Sydney Swans and NSW was a pleasure and honour in itself.

But I’ve enjoyed the rare gift of being able to continue my connection with the great sporting arenas as a TV, radio and newspaper reporter.

The year (1994) following my retirement I was back at the SCG in a new role as a boundary rider for Channel Seven and their coverage of the AFL.

Two years later I changed employers and was working for Network Ten. In my first year there I had the thrill of reporting on the Swans first grand final appearance since 1945.

It was a busy week in the build up with Andrew Dunkley initially suspended from the grand final before the Swans took out a court injunction to allowing the Sydney full back to play in the season decider.

Over the following decades I ended up spending more time at SCG press conferences than I did as a player.

It was a golden era for the Swans and newsworthy events just kept on coming. In 1996 Tony Lockett set the SCG rocking like never before when he kicked a point after the siren to send them into their first grand final since 1945.

He made more history three years later when he broke Gordon Coventry’s record of 1,299 career goals.

They lost the 1996 grand final to North Melbourne but played in another five over the next 25 years, finally breaking their 72 year premiership drought beating West Coast in 2005.

Working as a boundary rider for Ten on the coverage of the 2005 grand final I had the honour of interviewing Leo Barry just moments after his match saving mark. As a defender I had to ask him if it had crossed his mind to punch the ball instead of going for the grab. Thank god he didn’t.

Over my decades of reporting at the SCG the stories were by far the good news type. But the saddest by far was the death of Swans head trainer Wally Jackson who died of a heart attack during the round 19 match against the Kangaroos. I was working as a boundary rider for Network Ten on the match and could see everything unfolding within a few metres of where I was sitting.

Wally suffered the attack right alongside the interchange area during the third quarter.

Swans Doctor Nathan Gibbs worked desperately to save Wally’s life before an ambulance arrived but he couldn’t be revived at the ground or at the hospital.

As the horrible scene unfolded I was in communication with my producer David Barham. I knew Wally had a wife and children but didn’t know if they were at the ground. Because of the grave nature of what was happening David and I agreed not to report on the incident unless it stopped the game.

Looking back on the tragic circumstances it was a decision I’m glad we made. Wally’s passing was a rare low point in my time at the SCG.

One of the greatest thrills was watching the career of the great Adam Goodes unfold. After playing a season in the reserves in 1998 he blossomed into a true legend of the game highlighted by two Brownlow Medals (2003, 2006) and playing in two premierships (2005 and 2012).

By the time he hung up his boots in 2015 he’d played 372 games, 143 of them at the SCG more than any other player in the history of the game.

His career would intersect the arrival of Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin to Sydney’s most famous sporting venue. They played two years together as Swans fans witnessed a passing of the baton from one champ to another.

Neil Cordy At The SCG Playing Days

As footy celebrates 140 years at the SCG, former Footscray and Sydney Swans defender, and media commentator, Neil Cordy, our footy correspondent, reflects on his 40 years active involvement at the ground. Here he looks back on his playing days. The next instalment will be about his media work.

                                                Neil Cordy

Like many sportsmen and women the SCG is a special place to me.

My long association with the famous venue started more than 40 years ago and the first encounter was slightly bizarre.

In the three seasons leading up to the Swans arrival in Sydney, 1979, 80’ and 81’, the VFL decided to play eight games in Sydney to promote Aussie Rules with a view to eventually moving the Red and White Swans there in 1982.

I played in one of these matches, it was a round five contest in 1980 between Footscray v North Melbourne.

It was a strange choice of match up to promote the game in Sydney because neither club had a great profile.

The crowd was recorded as 13,476, but it felt like less.

Not many Bulldogs or North fans had travelled up the Hume highway or jumped on a plane. Back then the idea of playing a club game interstate was foreign to the average footy fan.

So the majority of those in attendance were from the harbour city and had only a moderate connection with what we were getting up to on the field.

Adding to the lack of atmosphere was the likelihood most had free tickets and therefore very little flesh in the game.

Local footy was still strong in Sydney but we were in Rugby League heartland.

In fairness to those who made the effort to turn up we, the Bulldogs, didn’t do much to help the spectacle. We were terrible. As Tommy Hafey used to say, “We couldn’t have played worse if we were dead.”

We were so bad in fact I won the Bulldogs Best Player award despite having five goals kicked on me playing at full back.

It was almost as bad as the night Carlton defender Robert Klomp won a TV set for his nine possession game in night match against Fitzroy the following year.

My award wasn’t a TV but a watch.

On balance I actually did a little better than Robert Klomp picking up 19 possessions and taking six intercept marks for the afternoon. The real reason I won the award was because I was playing on the great Malcolm Blight.

Blighty was a dual premiership player and bound for the Hall of Fame, he was also at the peak of his powers. I was in my second season of senior footy playing in just my 19th game.

It was a mismatch and Malcolm could easily have kicked 10 that day. He had plenty of opportunities, the ball was parked inside the Kangaroos front half for the duration of the match and they won by 122 points.

The reason Blighty didn’t reach double figures was he was suffering a bout of food poisoning. He told me he’d been up all night vomiting and shouldn’t have been out there. During the match he must have thrown up half a dozen times.

I didn’t pass any of this information onto the Bulldogs match committee who saw me take a few marks over Malcolm and win a couple of one on ones. Nor did I mention any of this in my short acceptance speech when Charlie Sutton presented me the watch after the game.

I still have the watch and value it highly because of who presented it to me, even if I won it in slightly unfair circumstances playing on a very sick Malcom Blight..

Seven years later (1987) I was back at the SCG in Swans gear and singing Cheer, cheer the red and the white. The vocal chords had a good work out in those days with Sydney winning a lot more than they lost.

I got my antidote to the 122 point thrashing at the hands of North Melbourne three times that year. In successive matches at the SCG the Swans beat West Coast by 130 points in round 16, Essendon by 163 in round 17 and Richmond by 91 in round 18.

The Swans kicked 30 goals or more three games in a row which has never been repeated.

It also improved the Swanette’s fitness levels as they celebrated each of the 97 goals with their dance routine.

The game against Essendon was the one I remember the most clearly. In 1987 the Bombers were still a very strong team, they’d gone back to back in 1984-85 and still had a host of their stars from that era. Terry Daniher, Simon Madden, Paul Salmon and Roger Merrett were all still in very good nick. Roger and his partner in crime Bill Duckworth were still as hard as they ever were.

I can honestly say our round 17 clash was the hardest 163 point win I’ve played in.

We finished third on the ladder and should have hosted a final at the SCG but we were still playing in the VFL and despite finishing above Melbourne on the ladder we played our qualifying final against them on their home ground the MCG. We lost the match by 76 points.

When I arrived at the SCG in 1987 I was 28 and expected to play another two or three seasons before retiring. I ended up playing seven seasons and 96 games for Sydney finishing up in 1993. My last game was coached by the legendary Ron Barassi which was a thrill for a kid who grew up barracking for Carlton.

Ron dropped me after one game in the seniors and told me he would be playing the young kids. That was fair enough, I was 34 years old and told him I was honoured to have my career finished up by him.

Great Turnout at AGM

                   A portion of those who attended the AGM
                               with covid precaution seating
                                            being applied

The Football History Society celebrated its 2021 annual general meeting with a great turnout at the Magpie Sports Club, Croydon Park today.

The annual report provided an depth look at the Society’s activities during 2020 and the reports therein were very well received.

Treasurer, John Addison declared a balance in excess of $10,000 in the bank despite an expenditure of $7,335, this amount mostly attributed towards website upgrades and new programmes and systems.

Those on the committee who stood for re-election were rewarded for their efforts whilst two new members, Terry Radecki and Michael Livingstone gained seats as committee persons.

The executive and committee for 2021 will consist of:

President Ian Granland
Vice President Dr Rod Gillett
Secretary Paul Macpherson
Treasurer John Addison
Committee Persons Mandy Keevil, Ian Wright, Heather White, Terry Radecki, Michael Livingstone

Click here to read the annual report.

Picnic For The Queenslanders

We found an interesting par. at the bottom of a report of a NSW v Queensland game played in June 1886.

What took our fancy was the reference to a rock carving at Middle Head and wonder if it still remains?

A very enjoy able day was spent by the Queensland football team on Sunday. The New South Wales Association ten dered them a picnic and a sail round the harbor. After visiting Lane Cove and viewing its beauties, they proceeded to Middle Harbor, where luncheon was prepared in a recherche manner, the principal chef, Mr. Booth and his assistant, Mr. Neilson, coming in for great praise. After the inner man had been satisfied, McClerkin, of West Sydney, showed his ability as an artist by carving the name of Queensland on a rock, over which the two rival captains, Messrs. Gibson and Goer, broke a bottle of champagne, christening the rock in honor of the visitors. The Queenslanders were then taken to Watson’s Bay to see the Gap, and returned to Circular Quay shortly before 6 o’clock thoroughly well satisfied with their day’s outing.”

Source: Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), Monday 21 June 1886, page 3

West Sydney was a club participating in the then NSW Football Association
T. Booth was a Waratah FC player
R. Neilson was the East Sydney FC secretary