The Roar
The Roar

Debbie Spillane


Joined March 2014







Sports journalist current host of ABC Grandstand.



There are times when the media and journalists make me cringe too.

But that doesn’t mean someone whose wages are paid for mainly by broadcasting rights shouldn’t be expected to behave professionally towards a woman who is doing her job for the people who are paying his wages.

$10 grand is a slap on the wrist for him.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

I’ve been to some of those places and while working did not get treated like I was at a nightclub.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

If that’s a comment based on the fact that I am now a woman in my 60s how very damned clever of you.

But if you think I miss being Mel’s age and treated like a groupie by the odd male sports star, you’re a sad, misguided individual, exactly the kind of knob that’s at the heart of this issue.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

Men and women are entitled to admire each other, ogle each other, flirt with each other or make comments amongst themselves about the opposite sex in a wide range of social settings. Where did I suggest you take a zero tolerance stand to that?

When the two of them are supposed to be dealing with each other in a professional atmosphere, that’s when it’s wrong.

Guys and women who put their bodies on TV modelling underwear, or showing off their physical attributes are doing it because it’s their choice to do that.

Mel’s choice is to be a sports journalist and asking a question about cricket does not deserve the kind of bar room response she got.

A fan ogling a footballer is not an interaction between two professionals in the workplace.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

Did I saw he’s a bad person?

Read what I said. I said his comments were not cool or clever.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

Don’t be an idiot.

Does the phrase “there’s a time and a place for everything” mean anything to you?

Women and men can flirt, admire each other, make sexual advances in social settings jut not in the workplace and in especially a way designed to embarrass. That was what Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said and he’s 100% right.

Shooting the Gayle-farce breeze

J Martin,

Yes, I do see the irony in me complaining about too much complaining around the game.

But I didn’t defend Paul Kent on the basis that he’s a good bloke. I defended him from accusations that he has an agenda against the game. He doesn’t. He does criticise the game and I don’t always agree with him, but he’s not doing it because he has an agenda against the game. He also defends the game, the players and the decision makers against criticism on occasion. He doesn’t have an agenda against the game and he thinks about it very independently — he doesn’t have allegiances and connections that define what he writes or says.

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

Thanks Epiquin, I was well aware I was running the risk of being a complainer about all the complaining.;)

But it’s the attitude surrounding the game rather than the game itself that I have a problem with.

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

Interesting you mention compare and contrast with the AFL Kasey, one of the examples I thought of but didn’t include when writing the story was how the AFL coped with talk that Buddy Franklin — arguably the code’s best player — was likely to leave Hawthorn at the end of the season a couple of years back.

It was accepted he was probably leaving the Hawks and it got mentioned occasionally (remember most thought he was going to sign with GWS?) but, as I recall speculation about his future never eclipsed coverage of the AFL itself. It was a story, but until it actually happened it was treated as just an interesting sidebar to whatever else was happening.

Too many NRL journos have their strings pulled by player managers, and they just don’t let up running stories about contract negotiations until a contract is agreed.

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

Not bad, Breeze101.

Or maybe for the Never Referee League 😉

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

And that too 🙁 Wilbur.

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

Ha Paneer,

“League Fatigue” was my other idea for a headline. It does describe how I feel.

I’ll join in your Todd Carney *facepalm*

And let’s do it again for every time we hear a story about how he’s really a nice guy and was treated poorly because “he didn’t hurt anyone”. Ready, altogether now: *facepalm* 😉

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable


I don’t think Paul Kent has an agenda against the NRL. I think he’s one of the few independent voices in the game that understands what’s going on and doesn’t take pot shots just to be sensational.

I don’t always agree with him — sometimes I disagree vehemently — but I know him and know he thinks about the game and writes with honesty.

I’m not against the game being criticised thoughtfully, but it’s just the endless griping and faux outrage that’s worn me out.

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

thanks The Barry,

I am trying to coax myself to just watch the game and cut off as much as possible from the external stuff, but my job doesn’t let me do that completely.

Even though I’m not hosting Grandstand’s NRL on Sunday this year and am heading back to ABC NewsRadio at the end of the month, I’ll still be presenting sports news, so I can’t avoid watching the sports news and reading the sports section of the newspapers. Working on a national network though, they don’t have to be Sydney papers 😉

What does NRL really stand for? Not Really Likeable

I keep hearing that La Rocca is on the outer as well. Don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, the success of last night’s experiment isn’t good news for him.

Has Popovic finally found a solution for the Wanderers?

Rob, I didn’t say five times a year, I said five times over the course of a few years — having the series done and dusted by January in the next World Cup year (2018) is what I actually wrote.

And five was just a suggested number, not locked in as a required number of games. I’m just starting a conversation about ideas, not laying down a formula for what needs to happen.

These matches 5 — or however many — would be interspersed between our other friendlies and qualifiers.

Could the Socceroos' next step be made in China?

Kikavic not an imported striker but a slogan for SA v Vic in AFL … I’ll pay that 😉

Could the Socceroos' next step be made in China?

Thanks Bondy, I gather there are those who see what I’ve written above as proving just the opposite — that I DON’T understand football.

But I do think I’ve got a good, broad understanding of Australian sport and sports fans — and we have an opportunity with football to build a rivalry that’s built not on our European roots, but our Asian geographical location, trade connections and, for heavens sake, hasn’t anyone noticed we have quite a solid Asian population in our midst as well? Cricket fans love having bets and bragging right contests with their Pommie workmates, friends, neighbours and family. Well, guess what? Plenty of us have Chinese workmates, friends, neighbours and families these days as well.

Yes, the Socceroos playing European teams will always be of interest but I was brainstorming ideas to take our society and sports appreciation into some new territory.

Of course, football is a complex beast on the international level and I’m not pretending this would be a “wave the magic wand and it will happen” thing. Just trying to think laterally.

Could the Socceroos' next step be made in China?

Cpasa, thanks you are one of the few that seems to be on my wavelength.

The ACL is definitely another way to become more aware of our Asian counterparts and free to air would help. We get UCL on FTA, but not the comp we’re involved in. That’s an anomaly.

But, as always it’s the $$$ that are the obstacle. My understanding is the AFC don’t really care about where their product is screened, as long as they get the money.

Could the Socceroos' next step be made in China?

oly09: You ask “why restrict ourselves to always playing one country each year?” … did you even read what I wrote?

For a start I don’t think we should only play one country each year.

And the whole point was I think we need to build some fan recognition of our opponents. We don’t see enough of the other teams to truly appreciate the personalities and skills of our opponents (which builds the excitement and rivalry) — as we do in sports where the range of options is far more limited

Could the Socceroos' next step be made in China?

I agree, Andy that most of this alleged “terrible behaviour” is a total beat up.

Take it easy on our young tennis stars

markismo, I don’t think the media conference is a problem at all. I don’t know how many tennis press conferences you’ve been in, but most of them don’t involve players talking up “self styled opinions” or saying very much about opponents at all.

They just answer the questions put to them very matter of factly. Generally it’s all pretty low key.

I can’t for the life of me see how you see this has anything to do with percieved behavioural issues of tennis players. If anything, it shows that they, more than most sports people, have to deal with the responsibility of fronting up, even as losers, and be accountable for their own performance. It’s a discipline that plenty of team sports players don’t ever have to learn. Tennis players are never shielded by a coach or teammates. If they don’t show for a press conference they are fined.

And to suggest there is some correlation between Sam Stosur’s press conferences and her disappointing performances is drawing a really long bow. And, by the way, the players’ press conferences are post match. Not pre-match.

Take it easy on our young tennis stars

Kaka, for a start I didn’t see actual disrespect for elders. That sounds like an interpretation you’ve put on something that happened during one of the match.

And secondly, if I was walking down the street and saw a teenager acting a bit cocky, cheeky, maybe being a bit loud and seeming perhaps self centred, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. If I bothered getting outraged about something so common I’d spend all my days in a state of outrage.

The only reason Kyrgios is a bit different is, as a talented tennis player, more people are watching intently. That’s the point I’m making. We don’t spend hours focused up close on the behaviour of most teenagers. Or even most sports stars. Tennis is a more relentless microscope than most others.

Take it easy on our young tennis stars

pjm, Tomic’s personality is very different to Kyrgios’s so I don’t think the same sort of things were being said.

Tomic was always prickly and a little uncomfortable in the spotlight. Kyrgios seems to me to have a far more open and extroverted personality type.

And, to read your comment you’d think having elder teammates keeps young footballers in check, Yeah, right. That’s why we never hear of attitude or behavioural problems from players in football codes.

Take it easy on our young tennis stars

You seem to have done pretty well in the missing the point department as well MJB. Language was only a small part of what I was writing about. I don’t know where you have seen traits like arrogance and petulance in Kyrgios. Pretty fertile imagination you’ve got going there, I reckon.

And accusing a 19 year of chronic immaturity? That’s hilarious. Chronic? How many years do you think he’s been suffering from this immaturity?

As far as accusing me of being an apologist for Australian sports stars, that’s just showing you’re ignorant about me and prone to making wild generalisations about entire races. Good work.

Take it easy on our young tennis stars