The Roar
The Roar


We should ban footy player acronyms, IMHO

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Wazza new author
Roar Rookie
1st June, 2019

A long while ago, the sports media began referring to Johnathan Thurston as JT.

Fair enough. He was the gun player of the time and everyone knew who he was, by full name or acronym.

Fast forward to 2019 and suddenly any player with a hyphenated name is suddenly an acronym. I blame rugby league radio and TV commentators for perpetuating this trend.

If I’m right, the player acronym rage began with JT, then morphed into three-letter acronyms. Code-switcher Sonny Bill Williams (SBW) was probably the first to be so honoured, then Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans (DCE).

Nicknames are not so bad – I mean, no-one knows Gus as Phillip Ronald Gould or PRG.

Then again, nicknames are only OK if they are in general use and not some footy commentator in-joke.

Fair go, it happens in the arts too. Examples include KMH (Kate Miller-Heidke) and the lead players in A Star is Born, BC (Bradley Cooper) and LGG (Lady Gaga). I have seen examples like this on social media, namely FB and the thing with the bird.

Perhaps it is just laziness – it’s far easier to say DWZ or RTS than get your tongue around Dallin Watene-Zelezniak or Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


Sometimes it is not at all obvious to whom the commentators refer.

RGC? Took me a while to work out that was shorthand for Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

As for TPJ, even though I’m a Broncos tragic, it never occurred to me they were talking about Tevita Pangai Junior.

It’s so disrespectful. What do the mothers think? No-one would have ever referred to the great Darren Lockyer as DJL, or Wally Lewis as KWJL.

Or in other sports fields, can you imagine Evonne Goolagong Cawley described as YGC?

Acronyms abound in the public service, in academia and the armed forces. The army is so alive with acronyms that author Fred Smith included a glossary in the back of a book he wrote about his time as a diplomat in Afghanistan.


FOB (forward operating base), is one example, also PTSD (which has probably by now become a word).

FYI, an acronym – as any good dictionary will tell you – is an abbreviation formed from the initials of other words and pronounced as a word.

For example, when assistant coaches go on the field to assess a player after a head knock, they should make this disclaimer IANAD (internet speak for ‘I am not a doctor’). You get the picture, then.

The acronym craze is driving dedicated footy fans crazy, TBH.

It’s worse than commentators digressing into anecdotes about a current player’s grand-uncle who toured with Australia in 1947, or a debate about whether socks should be worn up or down.