Channel 9 Australia rumoured rugby union team update


So far we threw ideas on will spearhead Channel 9’s rugby union team. And also on their subscription streaming platform via Stan Sport as well.

I have already told you that Matt Burke will not join there from Network 10. I believe he will not come out cheap. 

He has a commitment with the sports news for their Sydney bulletin each day. So Burkey is contracted there rather than being freelance like others.

The same goes to Scott MacKinnon who is also contacted at Network 10. I expect him to host the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix & Melbourne Cup Carnival.

I also do not think Gordon Bray will jump ship at the same time. He may be the most respected callers of the game. 

But he has done that for over four decades. So Nine would rather have a fresh face to lead a young demographic.

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Sean Maloney is a great example. He commentated on Fox for many years. I know he usually sits as the 2nd in charge behind the main caller in Greg Clark.

I know Clarkey will call Fox’s final game this Saturday in Parramatta. It will be the Wallabies v Argentina. But I see him following the same pathway as Gordon.

He still provides great entertainment via his calling style. And his ability to get along with others on the airwaves.

Nine would see Sean as the perfect fit to cream alongside the recent ex players. It would be better to sign him up as we could see our version of Scotty Stevenson.

Scotty also used to call games on Sky in New Zealand for many years. He also typically sits 2IC behind Grant Nisbett.

Then he jumped to Spark Sport/TVNZ last year & became the No.1 caller ever since. You can hear Scotty now on their newly acquired cricket coverage. He calls the Blackcaps & domestic games at home.

I also do expect to see a secondary backup to Sean in due course. It may be either Andrew Swain or Patrick Folkes.

Both of them do fit the fresh and unique criteria Channel 9 required. They would call some Super Rugby & Super W. Plus other state club games/youth internationals that Sean unable to do.

I would not mind Mark Braybrook in the mix. He has worked with Nine before with the Queensland Cup in rugby league.

But I think Mark will not take the main calling job. He would call the Hospital Cup, Super W & youth internationals.


The key here is that Nine should not exactly take everyone from Fox Sports. 

Most of the guys used to play from their 80s & 90s. No doubt respect the achievements they bring back home.

But Nine taking one or two guys from Fox only is alright. The rest will be filled by guys who retired in recent years.

Drew Mitchell can tell what is it like to face the current All Blacks crop. He is a great example at his current age of 36-37.

I would not mind Stephen Hoiles as well to join his usual ally Drew. I also know Steve is a businessman at the same time. And he has a coaching role in Los Angeles.

Adam Ashley-Cooper would fit in nicely despite not yet worked on TV before. But is 35 & fits what Channel 9 exactly needs.

So does Sonny Bill Williams who came off an illustrious career in rugby league & union. He will not be the first one to analyse in both roles. I hear Jonathan Davies over in Wales for the BBC.

Tim Horan and Andrew Mehrtens would not be a bad shout either. Both of them make up the most experienced crop.

They both still reference the history of the respective Wallabies & All Blacks sides. I am all in for Nine/Stan to have a completely new crop of analysts there. 

I am not sure about Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe & even George Gregan. These people have used to be on Nine before on occasions. But I guess the makeup of the team will end up unique.


Someone who knows rugby inside out is Nick McArdle. He would not mind travelling every week so that is an option.

Nick would appear on free tv for the first time since 2006. That was the last time he read the weekend sports news on Seven. 

He later moved to Fox Sports & stayed for 12 years with Rugby plus other sports.

James Bracey, Erin Molan or Cameron Williams would not be a bad shout. It will depend on the workload first. Then have either of them play a part in this code.

I guess it will happen with the Wallabies & key Super Rugby matchups. I do not think they will contribute every week though.

It will also be interesting to see if Nine/Stan will create a magazine style show. They might wear Footy Classified or 100% Footy brand rugby version as well.

I would not mind Aussie Rugby Show moving to this platform. Then you have to deal with Louise Ransome with this one.

She just recently extended her job with the ABC on a full-time basis. I know Lou was freelance over the last 1-2 years. And she  host/reported Shute Shield this year on 7.

But Nine will have to pay big to prize her ABC contract away. So I do not think it will look likely to happen at this stage.

It is a shame as this arrangement made before Nine secured the rugby rights. But things like this do happen unexpectedly.

Possible Channel 9 Rugby Team

  • Sean Maloney, Chief Caller
  • Andrew Swain, Deputy Caller
  • Patrick Folkes, No.3 Caller
  • Drew Mitchell, Analyst
  • Stephen Hoiles, Analyst
  • Adam Ashley-Cooper, Analyst
  • Sonny Bill Williams, Analyst
  • Andrew Mehrtens, Analyst
  • Tim Horan, Analyst
  • Nick McArdle, Host
  • James Bracey, Host for Wallabies games

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