AFL legend and Noongar man Derek Kickett is packing up his life in Western Australia and moving to Victoria to make his debut as the new co-anchor of NITV’s long-running The Marngrook Footy Show.
Kickett told NIT this week he and his wife will have a couple of days to settle in to Melbourne before he steps onto the set ahead of Marngrook’s 2018 season.
He is replacing the show’s decade-long host Gilbert McAdam.
The Marngrook Footy Show will run on Wednesday nights this year from March 21 — a move from its previous Thursday night slot.
“It’s me and my wife moving over,” Kickett said. “Our kids are old enough now. They’re grown up and have their own lives to lead.”
Although it will be Kickett’s debut in a hosting role, he has previously appeared on the show as a panelist.
“I got a phone call just before December to see if I was interested and to let me know the opportunity was there and whether I was keen to take that role,” Kickett said.
“They gave me a few weeks over Christmas to think about it and I decided to take up the opportunity.
“It’s that ‘you never know until you give it a go’ kind of thing.”
Kickett said the show’s popularity had led to his decision to make the move from WA.
“I’ve had a lot of congratulations from the Noongar people here,” he said. “I’m rapt and they’re rapt that there’s a WA flavour involved in the show.”
During his own stellar career, which ended with his retirement in 1996, Kickett played for Sydney, Essendon and Melbourne.
The Noongar factor
Many of the Indigenous players in the league today are relatives, including Swans star Buddy Franklin.
“I think we’ve got up in the high 60s or 70s national players – three quarters of the players come from WA and they are mostly Noongar players,” Kickett said.
“Most of those Noongar players are related to me somewhere along the line.”
Kickett said he had “big boots to fill” in replacing McAdam who is returning home to Alice Springs to host a radio sports show on the Central Australia Aboriginal Media Association network.
“Gilbert has done a terrific job and he’s well liked with the audience,” Kickett said. “I certainly know that from the Noongar people here. They’ve had a few words to me.
“They are big shoes to fill … we’re different personalities. We’ll see if the audience likes me. I’ll be a bit different to Gilbert.”
Kickett said he was keen to involve players in the show.
“For me personally, I think the audience love knowing about the players,” he said. “(Whether) you are a Collingwood supporter or a North Melbourne supporter, I know Aboriginal people will still follow the other Aboriginal players who are playing in the competition.
“I think that’s where we need to get a bit more personal insight into the players, whether it’s before the game or after the game or during the week … how their preparation is in the lead-up to the games.
“That’s what the audience wants to hear, especially young kids. I think I’d like to get the players a bit more involved in getting the information out to our young people.”
Kickett said it was too early to predict which teams would be the ones to watch this season, but the Sydney Swans and Geelong could be up there.
He said the women’s league was going from strength to strength.
- The Marngrook Footy Show will air on NITV on Wednesdays at 8.30pm.