The best rugby league commentator in the business is calling it a day at 2GB and The Continuous Call Team, and is off to the ABC. Andrew’s last day at 2GB will be Friday of this week when he finishes up his final show filling in for breakfast presenter Alan Jones.
An announcement was made today about Andrew’s departure although at this stage there has not been an official announcement about Andrew joining ABC Grandstand, however I have had it confirmed that Andrew has signed a contract with the ABC and it has been common knowledge at 2GB for a number of weeks.
Andrew’s departure leaves quite a hole in 2GB’s top rating rugby league coverage. Andrew was chief commentator for a few years when Ray Hadley reduced his radio commentary commitments and expanded to television commentary, however Ray resumed his role as chief commentator of The Continuous Call Team last year, taking over some of Andrew’s games. This is the third high-profile departure from 2GB’s Continuous Call Team in the space of a year, as they lost commentator Joel Caine last year in a dispute with rival NRL broadcaster Triple M over Joel’s role as a betting odds spruiker on both stations, and expert comments man Steve “Blocker” Roach late last year in a bullying complaint.
It was rumoured late in last year’s NRL season, a while before Andrew apparently signed with ABC Grandstand, that Andrew would go to the ABC, and former ABC commentator David Morrow, a friend of Ray Hadley, would move to 2GB. This is starting to look likely, although there is still the prospect of 2UE’s John Gibbs returning to 2GB’s Continuous Call Team later this year after the merger of the two stations’ respective parent companies is finalised. Only time will tell.
Meanwhile it looks like Steve “Blocker” Roach may become a regular fixture on Triple M’s commentary team after doing some off-season work there.
Andrew’s departure from 2GB leaves more than just a hole in their rugby league ranks, as Andrew was a regular fill-in host for a number of the “big name” hosts such as Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and Ben Fordham, and hosted his own show “Wake Up Australia” at 4am on weekdays as a lead-in to Alan Jones’ breakfast show. I’m sure the hours were dreadful for Andrew given that he has a family to look after, but I thought Wake Up Australia was a perfect timeslot for him as he was very good at providing some early morning news and commentary while keeping a cheerful persona which works very well at that hour, and is a welcome change from overnight shows dragging their traditionally slower format all the way through to breakfast. I really enjoyed hearing Andrew at that hour, as I was often either finishing work or getting ready to start work…and I will especially miss my occasional chats with Andrew when I would call in at about 4:15am.
Michael McLaren will be taking over Wake Up Australia next week when the show returns from its summer hiatus, however as Michael has his own weekend overnight show, it is unclear if this is a permanent move.
One thing which may work in Andrew’s favour at the ABC is his television experience. For a few years he hosted an NRL panel discussion program for the Ten Network called “The Game Plan”. The show was probably part of Ten’s (sadly) unsuccessful efforts to secure some NRL rights and probably would have resulted in Andrew calling some games for Ten if they had been successful in gaining NRL rights. Alas once Ten’s bid for rights was unsuccessful, The Game Plan’s budget was reduced and it was shifted off to a multi-channel before eventually being cancelled.
Unfortunately, unlike 2GB, ABC Grandstand do not usually post their commentator lineup online, so it could be a little difficult to know in advance which games he will be calling. I will certainly be listening to Andrew’s commentary as much as I can, but as I also like various other commentators at 2GB (Ray Hadley and Mark Levy in particular) and Triple M (Dan Ginnane and Anthony Maroon are both great callers, but I think they each work best with certain co-commentators) and so I expect I’m going to have an interesting year trying to figure out which commentary to listen to for any given match.
My very best wishes to Andrew. I hope he has oodles of success at the ABC, and maybe at long last will get to commentate on the Olympics! Good luck buddy!
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article claimed that David Morrow had been sacked by the ABC. This information was incorrect. Mr. Morrow in fact resigned from the ABC after providing a large amount of notice. As this information has been brought to my attention, the article has been updated to correct this information. I sincerely apologise to Mr. Morrow for this error and any undue harm and/or distress it caused.