PLAYING THE FIELD
The Bounce is taking a more family friendly approach to AFL coverage. Guy Davis learned more from footy legend Matthew Richardson.
the family will sit down and get their footy fi x for the week, fi nd out who’s in and who’s out for the week.”
Richardson, a key forward for AFL team Richmond from 1993 until his retirement last year, joins an eclectic line-up of talent on the show, including comedians Peter Helliar ( already well-known in footy circles for his Before the Game appearances … and his links to legendary player Bryan “ Strauchanie” Strauchan), Peter Rowsthorn and Dave Lawson, AFL legend Leigh Matthews and sports journalist Catherine Ellis.
With Helliar as host, it’s clear that The Bounce will be a lighter look at Aussie rules. But Richardson is quick to point out that in-depth commentary is also part of the show’s plan.
“ Having guys like Pete, Peter and Dave on board, the show is going to be a bit of fun,” he said.
“ But there’ll also be some serious footy talk, which is where Leigh and Catherine and I will come in. Catherine’s going to be reporting stories, and Leigh and I will be discussing the round’s teams and the events of the week with Pete.
“ So I think we’ll leave the comedy to the comedians – Leigh and I will be the straight men, although we’ll probably try to crack a few gags here and there. The majority of the time, though, we’ll be talking about footy.”
Richardson has had plenty of practice, even though he was playing full-time up until last year. He was a regular fi xture on The Footy Show panel for years, as well as a frequent guest contributor to Ten’s AFL coverage.
But following a 2009 injury, he started to consider a career in the media full-time. And once he hung up the boots for good, he received a fair few off ers.
“ I probably knew that I was coming to the end of my playing career so it felt like time to chuck my hat into the ring and seriously see if I’d be any good in the media,” he said. “ Luckily enough, a number of off ers came in when I retired and I was more than happy to give it a go.”
It’s a task he plans to approach with the same dedication that characterised his brilliant career in the AFL, one that saw him selected for the All-Australian team three times.
“ Well, it’s got to pay my bills now,” he said with a laugh. “ Before, media appearances were just an occasional thing. But it’s my number one job now, so I’ll treat it the same way I treated my footy career.”
With that in mind, he considers himself fortunate to have a teammate like Matthews, a man he clearly respects.
“ Leigh’s one of the biggest names in football,” said Richardson. “ He’s one of the greatest players of all time, as well as a coach with four premierships to his name. So it was pretty intimidating at fi rst sitting there next to him. But he’s very down to earth and I’m looking forward to working with him over the coming weeks, learning more and more from him.”
He’s also pleased that Ellis, an accomplished print journalist and selfconfessed footy fan, will be adding a woman’s touch to what has traditionally been a blokey domain.
“ Catherine’s going to be a big part of the show,” he said. “ Women are a huge part of the footy audience, some say more than half, so I think that it’s great having Catherine on board to bring that perspective to our coverage of the game. The more viewpoints we have, the better it’s going to be.”
In the game: presenters, from left, Catherine Ellis, Matthew Richardson, Peter Helliar, Leigh Matthews, Peter
Rowsthorn and Dave Lawson.