Dennis Cometti

Dennis John Cometti AM (born 26 March 1949) is an Australian sports commentator and a former player and coach of Australian rules football. In a career spanning almost 40 years, his smooth voice, dry humour and quick wit became his trademark.[1][2][3] He remains the only television broadcaster to have spanned the entire duration of the AFL national competition, serving the Seven Network, Nine Network and Broadcom. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours.

Dennis Cometti

Dennis John Cometti

(1949-03-26) 26 March 1949
ResidencePerth, Western Australia, Australia
OccupationSport commentator
Years active1968−present
EmployerTriple M
Home townPerth, Western Australia
Height190 cm (6 ft 3 in)

WAFL and VFL career

Cometti played 40 matches for West Perth. His best year in the WAFL was 1968, when he kicked 63 goals playing for West Perth under Graham Farmer. In 1971, Cometti made the senior list at Footscray but, due to injuries and media commitments, was unable to make a mark and did not play a VFL senior match.[4][5]

On his return to Perth, he played with some success in the Sunday Football League. He initially played for Wanneroo before moving to Maddington as captain-coach, leading the club to four successive grand finals and winning premierships in 1974, 1975 and 1976. After hanging up his boots, he later coached Osborne Park and Kelmscott, winning a premiership in 1979.[6]

In 1982, Cometti was appointed coach of West Perth. The club finished third in his first year, but his tenure at West Perth was otherwise uneventful, and the team finished sixth in both 1983 and 1984.[7] Other than a brief period as chairman of selectors for the Western Australia Australian rules football team, that was Cometti's last active involvement in club football.

Commentary career

Early radio career (1968–1971)

He commenced his media career as radio announcer in Perth, Western Australia, in 1968 as a Top 40 disc jockey at radio station 6KY. Over the following five years he worked as an announcer on 6PM, 3DB (Melbourne) and 6PR, again in Perth.

He broadcast his first football match  a state game between Western Australia and Victoria at Subiaco Oval  in 1971. Melbourne station 3KZ needed a caller and due to a quirk of fate Cometti volunteered to sit alongside Ian Major.

ABC (1972–1985)

He joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1972 where he concentrated exclusively on sport. He broadcast his first Test match in 1973 (at 23 the youngest in ABC history) and for the next 13 years broadcast Test Cricket alongside Alan McGilvray.[8][9]

Seven Network (1986–2001)

In 1986 his move to the Seven Network coincided with the formation of the West Coast Eagles in the VFL. However, because of a bitter battle over television broadcast rights that excluded the Seven Network, Cometti broadcast the first season of the expanded VFL competition on independent broadcaster Broadcom in all states apart from Victoria.

In 1988, when Seven regained the VFL television rights, Cometti immediately became the highest profile commentator of VFL/AFL matches (based in Western Australia where he presented the evening news sports segment). He stayed with Seven until 2001, as main sports anchor for Seven News in Perth, when they lost the rights to broadcast AFL matches. He has since been succeeded by Basil Zempilas, who reads the sport news on Seven News.[9]

In the late 1990s, he was among those to have been sent up by impersonator Andrew Startin on Live And Kicking. Actor Eric Bana was another to 'do' Cometti.

He also commentated at the Summer Olympics swimming competitions in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. Cometti has broadcast more Australian Olympic Gold Medals than any other commentator of the television era.[10]

Nine Network (2002–2006)

Cometti switched to the Nine Network in 2002 and alongside Eddie McGuire, Dermott Brereton and Garry Lyon became the channel's leading Australian rules football caller. During those five years he was voted Australian Football Media Association (AFMA) television broadcaster of the year five times (career total 11). Cometti dominated Australia-wide newspaper polls for fan popularity.

Occasionally while at Nine, he returned to cricket commentary and in 2003/04 called an Australia A game. As at Seven, he read the sports report on the weeknight National Nine News in Perth.

Return to Seven Network (2007–2016)

With the Seven Network regaining the rights to broadcast AFL games starting from 2007, Cometti re-signed with Seven to call games alongside Bruce McAvaney.[11][12] Cometti also had a weekly segment on Seven News in Perth during the AFL season.

Later radio and newspaper career (2008–present)

Between 2008 and 2011 Cometti was the lead AFL caller on Saturday afternoons for 3AW, initially alongside Rex Hunt and later Brian Taylor.

In 2009, he rejoined The West Australian newspaper to write a fortnightly column and weekly blogs.

When Cometti revealed he would be joining Triple M in 2012, he was immediately removed from 3AW's lineup to call the 2011 AFL finals series and was replaced by Dwayne Russell, host of 3AW's Sports Today program and Fox Sports commentator.[13]

Cometti joined commentators James Brayshaw, Danny Frawley and Wayne Carey in calling each Saturday's match of the day for Triple M radio. He was voted the nation's top AFL radio caller in a national News Ltd newspaper poll in 2012.

In August 2014, Cometti announced he would retire as an AFL commentator at the end of the 2016 season.[14] His career was commemorated on-air during Seven's coverage of the 2016 AFL Grand Final, the last AFL match he called on television, accompanied by messages of congratulations from sponsor AAMI. He commentated 16 grand finals.[15]

In November 2016, however, it was announced that Cometti would continue to call matches for the Triple M radio network for games in Western Australia. It was also announced he would be part of the Seven Network's coverage of the WAFL.[16]

Other work

Cometti was featured on SBS in an episode in the first Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are?, where he traced his father's Italian heritage back to Italy and his mother's English heritage back to three convicts and a freeman. The show also revealed his great-great-grandmother (although never charged) may have been involved in the deaths of two of her husbands.[17]

In 2012, he appeared in a television commercial series for Carlton Draught's Draught Pick iPhone app.

Video games

Cometti has been the voice-over commentator for the AFL video game series between 2004 and 2017.

Awards and honours

  • 2006 - Winner of the Alf Potter Award for that season's most outstanding media personality.
  • 2014 - Voted Television Caller of the Year by the Australian Football Media Association for an unprecedented tenth time. 2016 - Retired with a total of eleven.
  • 2017 - Was named the WA Sports Star of the Year at the West Australian of the Year awards
  • 2018 - Sport Australia Media Awards - Lifetime Achievement Award[18]
  • 2019 - Sport Australia Hall of Fame General Member[19]

Cometti is a member of both the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and AFMA Halls of Fame.

Personal life

Cometti was born in Geraldton.[20] He is married to Velia. They have two children, daughter Ricki (born 1979) and son Mark (born in 1983), who is a professional wrestler known as The Outback Silverback Mark Silva, based in Orlando, Florida.[21]


  1. Sharwood, Anthony (10 February 2016). "Dennis Cometti Retires: 2016 Will Be His Last Season So Here's An Early Salute To His Genius". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  2. "Dennis Cometti announces decision to walk away at end of 2016 AFL season". 10 February 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  3. "National Sporting Tragedy: Dennis Cometti is Retiring Soon". Pedestrian. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  4. Cometti, Dennis; Kennish, Michael (2004). Centimetre Perfect: The Perfect Commentary. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-966-4.
  5. Cometti, Dennis (5 May 1998). "Chris Beck talks to Dennis Cometti". The Age (Interview). Interviewed by Chris Beck. Retrieved 2 December 2008.
  6. Everett, Les (13 February 2009). "Never on a Sunday". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  7. "WAFL Records". West Australian Football Commission. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  8. "Author Profile - Dennis Cometti". Allen & Unwin. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  9. Vickery, Colin (29 August 2007). "Dennis Cometti's final quarter". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  10. "Events". South Australian National Football League. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  11. Allen Newton (8 December 2008). "Cometti follows AFL back to 7". PerthNow. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  12. "AFL on Seven just got a whole lot bigger". Seven Perth. 8 December 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  13. 3AW to cut Cometti
  14. Daily Mail (8 December 2008). "Dennis Cometti's days calling the AFL are numbered as the man with the soothing voice announces his retirement". Daily Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  15. Browne, Ashley (1 October 2016). "The final call: Cometti's amazing football journey". Australian Football League. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  16. Dennis Cometti returns to Mix 94.5
  17. Family history
  18. "Sport Australia honours Cometti with Lifetime Achievement". Sport Australia website. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  19. "Misty optically... Cometti set for induction into Sport Australia Hall of Fame". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  20. "Family Notices". The West Australian. Perth, WA. 26 March 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 20 August 2012 via National Library of Australia.
  21. DeCeglie, Anthony; Sampson, Alex (15 May 2011). "Dennis Cometti's boy hits the big time in the US". Sunday Herald Sun.
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