Lethal’s logical calling
WHEN Leigh Matthews announced his shock retirement as Brisbane Lions coach earlier this month, he not only threw the footy coaching world into a spin, he also became a wildcard in the footy commentating stakes.
The 56-year-old has slipped effortlessly into Channel 7’s AFL commentary team for the 2008 finals series and would have to be a contender for any vacant specialist positions next year.
Channel 10 has lost Michael Voss and won’t make a decision on his replacement until after the grand final. Fox Sports doesn’t have any immediate vacancies. David Schwarz has at times struggled at Seven, but the network appears certain to give him time to improve his calling skills. It is Seven, though, that seems the most obvious long-term destination for Matthews.
‘‘Channel Seven has had a wonderful relationship with Leigh Matthews for many years,’’ Seven Melbourne general manager Lewis Martin says. ‘‘We regard him as an AFL legend, super coach and a great TV commentator. He’s been a great friend of Seven and 2009 is an open book.’’
Matthews is clearly enjoying being back behind the microphone and says it is only natural for him to include media work in his post-Lions life.
‘‘Talking or writing about football is the logical thing for those of us who have just finished being involved at club level,’’ he says.
‘‘I enjoy going to the footy and I enjoy talking about footy. It’s been the major thing during my adult life.’’
This weekend’s grand final is Matthews’ main focus for now. He reckons he has been to every grand final since 1971 as either player, coach or media commentator. Matthews called for Seven in the years between his Collingwood and Brisbane coaching stints and says little has changed in the intervening decade.
‘‘What I’m trying to do is point out things that aren’t obvious to people who are watching the game,’’ he says. ‘‘I hate commentators who talk in jargon because it makes them feel like they know what they’re talking about. You’ve got to talk in everyday language.’’