Gone to that great commentary booth in the sky

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FOOTY FANS never tired of the after-match exchanges between radio caller Harry Beitzel and his ageing colleague Tommy Lahiff reporting from the dressing rooms. LAWRENCE MONEY takes us back in time:

There was always some sort of transmission problem whenever the great Harry Beitzel, who has just passed on at 90, patched through to his little mate Tommy Lahiff in the dressing rooms after the game. Even after 30 years they never seemed to be able to fix it. Let’s tune into one typical exchange on 3AW in the 1980s.

Harry has a hug for Tommy
Harry has a hug for Tommy. Illustration: Gordon Napier


Are you there Tommy?

Can you hear me Harry?

We can hear you Tommy. What’s the atmosphere down the dressing room after that 26-goal thrashing.

Harry? Are you there Harry?

Tommy, we’re here. Where are you?


Down the dressing room Harry. The coach has called all the players inside and locked the door but I’ve got my ear up against the keyhole. Something about a duck, Harry.

Read More: Harry Beitzel, dead at 90, a famous footy name for many reasons


A duck Tommy?

Sounds like duck, Harry. Duck, duck, duck…

Are you sure you are at the right door Tommy?

Hang on Harry, the boot-studder has come out and he looks real shocked.

(Indecipherable scuffling noises)

You there Harry?

Yes, Tommy we’re here.

Boot-studder says the players are gonna cop the toughest training sessions in the history of the club. Thirty-mile sprints uphill, Harry, carrying 20-pound sacks of wheat and wearing leg-irons.

Leg irons Tommy?

That’s what the boot-studder reckons Harry. With 10-mile swims after that.

Still wearing the leg irons Tommy?

Reckon so Harry.

Golly gee whiz Tommy that’s severe. Tell me, how’s Sullivan after that horrific third-quarter collision? Almost had his head pulled off.

Yes Harry, I thought he’d been decaffeinated. Club doc says it’s a fractured tibia. But he’ll be cherry ripe for next weekend.

But isn’t the tibia the shinbone, Tommy?

The Shinboners aren’t playing today Harry. Eh? Can you hear me Harry?

Are you there Tommy?

Are you there Harry? Harry?

We’ll be back with Harry Beitzel at Windy Hill after this short commercial break.


Author: Lawrence Money

Lawrence Money has twice been named Victoria’s best newspaper columnist by the Melbourne Press Club. He wrote columns for 37 years on the Melbourne Herald, Sunday Age and daily Age — and in Royalauto and Your Sport magazines — before retiring in 2016 after a 50-year career in journalism.
He still treads the speaking circuit, does radio gigs, tweets on @lozzacash and chases a long-gone 13 golf handicap. He clings to the eternal hope that the Melbourne Demons will once again win a flag.



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