Dermott Brereton: I owe it all to Ernie

With more than 25 years in media under his belt, Dermott Brereton learned it all from Ernie Sigley.


It was 1989 when a young Hawthorn player named Dermott Brereton was given a chance at media by veteran Nine presenter Ernie Sigley.

Sigley was presenting In Melbourne Today with Denise Drysdale when he offered to mentor the young Hawk, leading to on-air appearances.

“It was the first paid gig I did on TV,” Brereton recalls.

“Ernie allowed me for several hours each day to sit next to him off camera. I watched how he worked and he was very, very good to me.

“Although I was straight in, Ernie Sigley taught me on the job.

“I have nothing but good things to say about Ernie. He was very good to me. He’s a boisterous character, who is easily riled by certain people, but he’s fiercely loyal and a complete and utter professional. I learned so much from him.”

“We’re the first place of any visual media where the teams are seen each week.”

At GTV9 Brereton became a regular fixture, including on The Sunday Footy Show, which was the origin of the long-running primetime series.

“The genesis of the show was Simon O’Donnell, Sam Newman and myself. We used to go in and do a Sunday morning Footy Show. The following year it grew again to a panel and Max Walker hosted. Then in grand final week we decided to a Thursday night grand final show. Maybe 1992 or 1993.

“(GTV9 manager) Ian Johnson said ‘I’m not too sure whether we cook the golden goose or not but we might do a Thursday night every week.’”

For the last 4 years Brereton has been part of FOX Footy presenting and commentating across the weekend, beginning with League Teams on Thursday nights.

“We’re the first place of any visual media where the teams are seen each week. So it’s a great feather in our cap,” he says.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday commentary continues from FOX Footy’s home base in South Melbourne.

“Working on Getaway was the best 5 years of my life!”

So what are the key differences working in Pay TV v Free to Air?

“In Pay TV we have a solid staff around us who have good job security, so there is a good vibe. If you ask someone in the office ‘Could you please research this for me?’ they will just say ‘When would you like it completed?’” he explains.

“Unfortunately by the end of my tenure at Nine if you needed somebody to research something for you the job security wasn’t that strong, they’d seen old mates walk to the door the week before, so it was an uneasy feeling in those days.

“From the early days at Bendigo Street through to the unsavoury years when the current owners came through, they were a wonderful organisation to work for. It was all about the product. If you got the product right, (with) the advertisers and people who were investing on the shows they followed.

“But when it turned into a factory production and it was ultimately about the bottom line, I thought the product slipped away a little. Having said that working on Getaway was the best 5 years of my life!”

I can’t resist asking about his thoughts on the situation surrounding the current Footy Show and whether Eddie McGuire should return?

“I was hardly the poster boy for the stable marriage, so probably not best for me to call,” he suggests.

“It just seems like at Nine Eddie does showbiz shows and at FOX he does sport.

“Although The Footy Show isn’t much about footy any more!”

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