Siren sounds on Bruce McAvaney’s legendary 30-year career calling AFL matches including 20 Grand Finals – but it won’t be the last we see of him on TV
- 2020 AFL grand final was Bruce McAvaney’s last game as an AFL commentator
- Channel Seven broadcaster, 67, hangs up mic after after more than 1000 games
- Will remain involved in Seven’s racing coverage and call the Tokyo Olympics
The full-time siren has blown on Bruce McAvaney’s distinguished career in the AFL commentary box after calling more than 1,000 games.
The legendary Channel Seven broadcaster, 67, shocked footy fans on Sunday by announcing that last year’s grand final was his last behind the mic at an AFL match.
Regarded for decades as the voice of the AFL alongside co-commentator Dennis Cometti, it was a difficult decision to walk away.
‘I felt like I got to a stage in my career where I had to reduce my workload,’ McAvaney told Seven News.
Channel Seven commentator Bruce McAvaney (pictured at work) has made his last appearance in the AFL commentary box for the network
‘I’m going to miss it enormously, I just visualise when Richmond and Carlton run out there in round one, and the ball is bounced, I’m going to climb a wall somewhere.
‘I’m going to have to move on and just be a fan like everybody else.’
McAvaney insists the decision to step back after a coronavirus-interrupted AFL season wasn’t health-related, having battled chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2017.
The shock decision was the result of recent discussions with his wife Anne and network boss Lewis Martin.
‘I was confident I could continue on (calling) strongly, but I just felt it was the right time for me,’ McAvaney told the Herald Sun.
‘Something had to give. I realised I wanted to keep working. I didn’t want to retire, that’s far from my mind. But I just didn’t think I was in a position to continue to do as much as I was doing.’
The full-time siren has blown on Bruce McAvaney’s distinguished career in the AFL commentary box after calling more than 1,000 games
But fans will be relieved to hear McAvaney won’t disappear from television screens just yet.
He’ll remain involved in Seven’s horse racing coverage and will call the Tokyo Olympics for the network later this year.
Few viewers will ever forget McAvaney’s famous call of Cathy Freeman’s 400m gold medal victory at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
‘[I’m] certainly not anything close to retirement, it’s just a new phase, where I cut back slightly, and anything I’m asked to do at Seven I’m going to do with the same enthusiasm and same commitment,’ he told Seven News.
Bruce McAvaney (pictured with 2012 Australian Olympic diver Rachel Bugg) looks forward to calling the Tokyo Olympics for Seven later this year
‘I still feel like there’s a bright future, in a ridiculous way I feel like I haven’t reached my potential, I still want to get better, and that’s what I’m hoping to do over the next few years.’
‘For those that like my on air they’re still going to see me, for those that say shoosh, bad luck.’
He has been on Seven’s screens since joining the network in Adelaide in 1978 and has called 20 AFL grand finals in that time.
McAvaney has been at the front of the AFL’s free-to-air coverage from apart from a five-year absence between 2002 and 2006 when Seven lost the television rights to Ten.
James Brayshaw will fill McAvaney’s vacancy in Seven’s commentary box this season alongside Brian Taylor, Hamish McLachlan, Luke Darcy, Wayne Carey and Daisy Pearce, which gets underway in March.
Bruce McAvaney (pictured hosting the 2016 Brownlow Medal) says his decision to retire from AFL commentating was a tough one