Veteran sports broadcaster Drew Morphett, best known for AFL commentary with ABC and Seven, has died, aged 69.
He died suddenly at home in Pakenham on Friday while watching the Hawthorn-Western Bulldogs game.
Morphett began as a cadet with the ABC in Sydney in 1966, as an 18-year-old sports trainee reporter.
He hosted VFL show The Winners on ABC for 10 years during the 1980s. In 1988 he joined Channel 7 and called the footy for the next 13 seasons, then joined the ABC Radio Grandstand team.
“I reckon we said less then. We identified the players and threw in a comment about ‘getting on top, getting better the further game goes, good win there against the odds’ – that sort of stuff,” Morphett once told Fairfax.
“These days, and I am not meaning to denigrate the current callers, but they are doing radio calls for television. You don’t have to be saying: ‘He looks up, the kick’s on its way’.
“That’s not television commentary – you can see the kick is on its way. We were more into what you believe is classic television commentary, rather than just wall-to-wall words.”
Morphett covered other sports, including cricket for many years, and attended four Olympic Games specialising in cycling, hockey and diving.
Sandy Roberts told the Herald Sun, “He’s one of those blokes it’s really hard to believe he’s gone. He died exactly the way he and his wife ‘Kaz” would have wanted, other than 15 years too early.
“He was watching the footy with a glass of red, before falling asleep and dying in his sleep, suffering no pain because his eyes were closed.”
A Seven Spokesman said: “Drew was a highly respected and regarded sports commentator across radio and television.
“He had a passion for broadcasting and his attention to detail is legendary.”
“During Drew’s 11 years at Channel 7, he was a valued member of the commentary team working on national and international sporting events.
“Drew’s family and friends are in our thoughts at this very sad time.”
Morphett was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for his services to sports broadcasting.