When Tim Gavel announced he was leaving the ABC in July last year, it was an end of an era. The man who delighted many sports enthusiasts by painting an image of the action on the footy field for countless seasons was finally hanging up the mic.
But when he said it was the last time, you just knew he would be back. You can’t keep Tim Gavel away from the mic for too long.
“I am making a comeback like Farnham,” Gavel said with a laugh. “When I left the ABC I did say that there was a possibility that I might return one day.”
By the time Gavel takes his familiar spot in the ABC Grandstand commentary spot for the Brumbies opening home match against the Melbourne Rebels on 15 February, his retirement would have only lasted seven months.
Tireless Tim’s version of retirement is like no one else’s. While he has been keeping himself busy writing for Region Media and working as a media advisor for the University of Canberra Capitals and ASADA, the excitement of calling a game live was something he always craved.
“When you are not commentating, you realise what a thrill it is to do it. For all intents and purposes, commentating is almost like the ultimate high,” he said. “I love what I am doing at the moment but calling a game compliments the wide variety of work that I am doing.”
He will return to call the Brumbies eight home games and the Raiders 11 games at GIO Stadium in the 2019 season and is relieved he won’t have to hit the road for away games.
“Travelling was the part that I didn’t like when I was commentating,” he shared. “When you are on the road, it turns into 13-14 hour days and you spend a lot of time away from home, and I am a bit of a homebody.
“So the deal with the ABC is perfect.”
Can confirm back commentating for ABC Grandstand in 2019, Brumbies and Raiders home games.#johnnyfarnham
— Tim Gavel (@TimGavel) January 14, 2019
You would think that after a 30-year career, that involved calling three Canberra Raiders premierships, two Brumbies titles and seven Olympic Games, that commentating would be like getting dressed in the morning for a man of Gavel’s ability. But as the 2019 Super Rugby and NRL seasons draw near, Gavel said he is feeling a bit nervous and is worried he will be a bit rusty.
“I haven’t called anything during the summer when I would normally call the A-league, cricket or basketball,” he said. “So I have been rehearsing and practising in the loungeroom at home and in the car, going through possible scenarios. I want to make sure by the time the first game comes round I am fully prepared.”
The extent to which he prepares is second to none, with Gavel admitting he treats every game like an exam.
“I try to study as much as I can and I have already been to a few Brumbies and Raiders training to get an idea of some of the new players,” he said. “When the call goes well, it’s great but when it doesn’t, it can spiral a little bit and you can get despondent. That is why I never go into a game half-prepared.
“That is why before I decided to make my return, I had to think about it because I know the emotional rollercoaster that it takes you on. But in the end, it is something that I love doing.”