A year 'in the dug-out' as match day announcer at London Broncos...
Printed in the London Broncos match day programme on 13th Sep 2015 for the final home game of the season, against Batley.
This is a video recording of my welcome announcement ahead of the final game.
This season I’ve enjoyed a very different matchday perspective.
After years of watching Broncos' games from the press box - mostly wearing headphones and hearing very little else than the sound of my own voice - my role as the match day announcer this year has been a fascinating eye-opener into many other aspects of a match day.
I feel very privileged to have been asked to fulfil the role. At the start of the season, I almost couldn't believe I was allowed to be in the dug-out during the games. There was so much 'inside information' that I was party to; like conversations between coaching staff, officials and players.
Over the span year I've got to know a few of the club's 'calls' for certain times of the game. I'm not sure I'd be able to write them all here - not that I've any idea what most of them actually mean - but I loved the shout of 'Hammer Time' last week - I'd not heard that one before then.
One element of the game you get to see rather close up are the aftermath of any injures. Players will take the place on the bench, later in the game, with ice-packs, crutches, blood stained shirts and the lot. It can often bring a little more context to the game you're watching unfold before you. (And you're also party to the odd player's bodily function...).
Often when you're doing a broadcast commentary of the game, being no where near the technical area anyway, you are too consumed with the goings-on in the game to be able to get injury updates - which is why you often hear from touchline reporters, as they can get the information.
The most insightful element for me, this year, has been being around the match officials. I'll often speak to them to clarify numbers for interchanges - but I've been lucky enough to have short conversations with the match commissioner following certain incidents in the matches. I've even had a number of decisions explained to me during the game - with the match commissioner having an earpiece and being able to hear the referee's comments.
Above all, though, the thing that has been most evident to me, having been in this situation this season, is how well the club carries itself. The demonstration of the high standards that are expected here. Even in the face of defeat or feeling hard-done by the professionalism and demeanour of everyone involved with the club has been of the highest order.
It's almost impossible to put it into words, with it being an almost passive action. It can often be what is not done - or the way it's carried out - rather than the actual action.
And, I guess, sometimes with things not going your way, maintaining elements of those standards can be difficult. But the club have impressed me - and impressed me in areas that I've not been able to experience before.
And I'm privileged to have been able to do so.
* Addition to published piece *
And I think I reached my peak when Sean Morris crossed for his record breaking fifth try in this final game of the season... My confidence at an all time high with mic in hand and Broncos storming to victory, I announced: "Hi fives for the London Broncos try scorer, number 26 - Sean Morris!".