Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Brett Kirk should have his own Footy Show

Out-there garden gnome Costa.
It's time for something different. A breath of fresh air in the constipated toilet of AFL Footy Shows these days. It's time for a courageous TV producer to back in Brett Kirk, the Costa Georgiades (see ABC1's gardening show and you'll see what I mean) of the AFL, to run his own Footy Show "Brett's Quirks".

First, let's assess the current AFL commentary teams and Footy Shows. In my humble opinion, the only current AFL show with a different angle, and worth watching, is Marn Grook. Then there's the rest.

Skip straight to our subject matter in the next para if you have to. No disrespect to our esteemed incumbents, but we have BT and Richo bickering about goal kicking yips, Richo's famous comment on the height of goal posts making the sticks narrower, or was it wider when they were shorter? (Maybe Richo should have his own show). You have Dennis and Bruce's love affair, or is it one-up-manship subtley cloaked. It's been going on so long now that they are becoming parodies of themselves. You've got Frawley and Dunstall hamming it up on After the Bounce, now bringing in Gazey for a woeful performance each week. You have Channel 9's Footy Show headed up by Gary Lyon. 18 years on, even Sammy Newman is starting to look as stale and bleak as a 2-day-old sat-on Jatz Cracker in Eddie McGuire's back pocket. There's the plethora of shows on Fox, Robbo trying to tell all and sundry "I coulda beena contender" as Tony Shaw put it so well. Not forgetting past players and coaches who, post-career, join the media, being interviewed by the likes of Huddo and basically saying the same thing week in week out. The best is Lethal Leigh, he hits the mark everytime but also gives proof it's not brain science he's preaching.

There's a niche crying out to be filled. Well, not even a niche. Just something different. Entertaining. As a famous politician once said in a successful campaign; "It's time".

Which leads us to Kirky. Apologies upfront but  let's break into some marketing jargon. People harp on about unique selling proposition and sustainable competitive advantage. Trouble is, if it's a product, it can eventually be copied. But if it is a unique human being, it can't be, as evidenced by this little cameo that went viral on YouTube. Doubt even Kirky's clone could match this.

Brett Kirk was one of the AFL's most courageous footballers. He appears to have carried that demeanor into the commentary arena. Can you name any other footballer who would have the intestinal fortitude to wear a green cardigan like this? On national television? At a footy match? The man's got guts.
Pic courtesy of Kirky's recent tweet

Alright alright we'll drop the Costa Georgiades analogy (still works for me) and more on Kirky the footy player we all know. Because there's something about Kirky.  I first saw a picture of Brett Kirk in a Swans footy article circa 2002. The team was walking the Kokoda Track, and there was a picture of Kirk next to Barry Hall. I'd never heard of him and mistakenly thought he was a new recruit. But what struck me about the shot was his beaming smile. I remember thinking he looks like he has a positive attitude. He might go alright this fella.

Belief. Heart. Passion.

Years later, I was reading Brad Johnson's book, aptly named "Johnno". He mentions Rodney "Rocket" Eade when he first came to the Bulldogs. Johnno says that one of the first things Eade did was ask the players "Who thinks they are a senior player?". The response was underwhelming. So the first thing Eade did was start to build their confidence. And he got results.

Johnno relates the same Eade method when Rocket first started at the Swans. Same question was asked. "Whoever thinks they're a senior player stand over here". Kirky, then an unknown, crossed that line and stood with the senior players. Eade fronted him and asked "What  the #$%@ do you thing you're doing over here!!?!?". To which Kirk replied "I believe I am a senior player". Rocket said "Good on you", and moved on down the line  (I read Aker's book too, there's a slight chance it couldve been in Aker's book. But I doubt it. *Has another Broo* Uglybustards pen to the first person who corrects me if I'm wrong. On with the story, dear readers).

Sacrifice. Discipline.

Rewind to the 2003 qualifying final where the under-rated Swans were playing top of the table Port Adelaide in Adelaide. No-one gave the Swans a chance. Coach Paul Roos had done his achilles tendon in social basketball and was on crutches. But they jumped Port and blasted out to a 5 goal lead. Kirk's role that day was as a hard tag on one of the many Port stars. The Swans hung on to win by 2 goals. A post match comment remains telling. Pretty sure it was Jude Bolton who said that when they saw Byron Pickett smash into Kirky, and see Kirky bounce back up, the whole team lifted. This was in the days when Byron was regularly ending players' careers, either physcially debilitating them or mentally scarring them, with his then-legal shirtfronts. Significantly, spectacular acts by the stars were not mentioned. Just Kirky's effort.

It's well documented that Leading Teams consulted with the Swans at the start of Roosy's tenure and from that the "Bloods" culture developed, totally embraced by veteran captain Stuart Maxfield who had a big influence over his teammates. But Kirky seemed to be as much as a leader as anyone, although he looked to be just a bit-player, a tagger, in a team sprinkled with bona fide superstars. Fast forward to post-Maxfield days, post 2005 premiership. Coaching legend David Parkin is talking to Swans Coach Paul Roos. There's a knock on the door. In comes Brett Kirk who informs Roosy that the team will be taking a 6am dip in the ocean tomorrow morning as self imposed team punishment. Probably for Nick Davis's latest visit to KFC. It didn't matter what it was for. Parkin was impressed.

There were many more stories and pictures of Kirky over the years, including a few with Barry Hall giving him a wedgie. But most articles were about his buddhist beliefs, his heart, team culture, the Bloods, how a battler rose to become a premiership captain, a leader of a premiership team. There were stories on his background, such as his old man playing great footy with one hand, and Kirky's own determination to keep coming back to the Swans after delistings, the other 17 year olds wondering who this 21 year old was sitting on the changeroom bench next to them.

But maybe we'll leave them for the great man himself to tell on his new Footy Show. An unorthodox footballer with an unorthodox journey into the team and on to the ultimate success.

Show some G&D you TV producers. You're sitting on a goldmine.

But despite that glib line I would like to tell you I spent hours mulling over a beer or 2 deliberating what I would say about Brett Kirk, and why he deserves his own footy show. I'm not sure if I captured it at all. I tried to do it the Kirky way, put it on the line. Anyway, consider it posted. Help out if you feel you should.  As Kirky says, its all about heart.

Get Kirky trending
Copy this hashtag #KirkysFootyShow and tweet! And remember, this was an Uglybustards report so don't get any of it confused with the facts.


Anonymous said...

who is brett kirk?

Anonymous said...

As Kirky would say it's all about the love and there's a lot to love about footy, a lot to love about Kirky and there's some teams and players that sure need the love.
Great article you ugly (but glorious) bastard.

footy tipping said...

When I tip, I like to see if the teams are playing at home or away. Normally when a team plays at home they have a slight advantage over the other team. When the crowd is with you and cheering for you, you seem to play a lot better. Footy teams love a great crowd and sometimes players of a footy team just love showing off.