by Rod Gillett
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.