Cometti called into footy’s Hall of Fame

Iconic broadcaster Dennis Cometti and Port Adelaide champion John Abley have rounded out the 2020 class inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Cometti, 71, retired from television at the end of 2016 after calling more than 1000 matches throughout a decorated 40-year career.

The West Australian is the 12th media member inducted into football’s Hall of Fame.

A master of the one-liner, Cometti is described by fellow broadcasting great and former commentary partner Bruce McAvaney as the “golden voice” of football.

“Brilliant voice, the sense of humour, the one-liners, capturing the moment, the longevity … why wouldn’t he be in the Hall of Fame?” McAvaney said.

“He popularised the game in some ways because he changed the way commentators went about their work.

“He created a cult following on a Friday night.

“There was a unique style that he had. It was slightly Americanised in some ways, but it was oh-so intelligent and oh-so funny.

“The golden voice, that beautiful voice that never seemed to crack, but when the emotion was there he could go to another level again.

“He had a sense of humour and sense of timing that I think is unique.

“He could respond to something that’s happening in front of him that he would’ve had no idea (was going to happen) and yet seemingly sum it up perfectly.”

Cometti played for and coached West Perth in the WAFL but found his true calling in broadcasting a range of sports, including cricket, and specialised in Australian football.

He was the first-choice AFL caller for Seven from 1986 to 2016, bar a five-year stint at Nine when that network took the rights early this century.

Cometti’s unmistakable style, highlighted by accuracy and wit, made him a fan-favourite.

“I think most commentators as they go on know when it is getting to a big time in the game and respond to that,” Cometti said.

“Everyone has got their way of responding, raise their voice and shout, it can be emotional, if you’re caught up in the emotion, it sometimes just comes to you.”

Legendary Port Adelaide full-back Abley was a seven-time SANFL premiership player – including six in a row with the Magpies from 1954 to 1959 – and a three-time All-Australian.

He also played 23 state games for South Australia.

Abley, who died in 2011 aged 81, was also named as the full-back in Port Adelaide’s official Greatest Team.

“All the good players see the ball early and he was one of those types,” legendary Port Adelaide figure John Cahill said.

“He was just quiet and humble, but out on the ground he just had that aura, you could see he was a class act.”

Abley was the second Port Adelaide champion inducted into the national game’s Hall of Fame in the South Australian club’s 150th year, following Greg Phillips’ induction earlier this week.

The Port pair and Cometti joined modern-day AFL greats Lenny Hayes, Dean Cox, Simon Black and Jonathan Brown as 2020 Hall of Fame inductees.

Hawthorn father figure John Kennedy was on Monday named as the 29th Legend of Australian football.





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