Cometti called into football Hall of Fame

Dennis Cometti is now a member of both the Sport Australia and Australian Football Hall of Fames.
Dennis Cometti is now a member of both the Sport Australia and Australian Football Hall of Fames.

Iconic broadcaster Dennis Cometti's name being called on Thursday night completed a distinctly national flavour to the 2020 class of Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Cometti, 71, was inducted along with champion Port Adelaide defender John Abley to conclude a four-night schedule of inductions.

The traditional formal gala event was not possible this year because of coronavirus restrictions preventing large gatherings.

Often criticised for being too Victorian-centric, the Hall of Fame committee went far beyond the game's Melbourne heartland to find this year's class of inductees.

West Australian Cometti was inducted this week with Brisbane Lions triple-premiership heroes Simon Black and Jonathan Brown, West Coast ruck great Dean Cox and St Kilda's NSW-born midfield star Lenny Hayes.

Fittingly, Abley was one of two South Australian icons and Port Adelaide greats inducted in the famous club's 150th year, after Greg Phillips' induction earlier this week.

Hawthorn father figure John Kennedy was on Monday elevated to 'Legend' status in the Hall of Fame.

Cometti, who was also a player and coach at West Perth, has called more than 1000 matches for radio and television throughout his decorated career.

His final broadcast on television was the 2016 AFL grand final but while he is now "retired" he still calls Perth matches for radio.

He becomes the 12th media member inducted into football's Hall of Fame.

Cometti's unmistakable style, highlighted by accuracy and wit, made him a fan favourite and earned high praise from colleague Bruce McAvaney.

"The legacy that he'll leave above all the other things is that one-liner that summed everything up so brilliantly and made us all smile," McAvaney said.

"There are a lot of very good commentators, many that have come before Dennis and there'll be a lot that come after him, but I really believe he's the benchmark.

"Of all the people that have called the game, Dennis has created an aura about himself and an excellence that does stand alone, and for that he should be very proud."

Australian Associated Press