For many AFL fans, their only option of seeing their favourite team play every week in 2012 was to watch the television broadcast on either Fox Footy or Channel Seven. Admittedly, the coverage of AFL on Fox Footy has generally been above average this year; unfortunately the same simply cannot be said for Channel Seven.

This is an issue that has now reared its ugly head, given Seven hold the exclusive rights to broadcast the finals, and is now the only option for viewers who are unable to attend the game.

The shortcomings in Seven’s AFL coverage were particularly highlighted in comparison to the ABC’s telecast of the VFL Grand Final, in which Geelong was triumphant over Port Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

To say that that the ABC’s simple coverage was superior to Seven’s overblown bombastic broadcast would be a massive understatement.

Led by veteran broadcaster Peter Donegan, who occupied the main hosting role, the ABC’s coverage also included former Norm Smith Medalist David Rhys-Jones, secondary commentator Darren Boyd and VFA stalwart Phil Cleary, who performed the boundary rider role, as he has done for many years on the ABC.

Over his long broadcasting career, Donegan has proven remarkably versatile, as he is well known for calling the Stawell Easter Gift, and recently called the athletics for Channel Nine at the London Olympic Games.

Donegan’s professional call of this game was informative and entertaining, noticeably without resorting to childish name calling, useless clichés and pointless catchphrases in order to boost his ego. He and his team just called the game without attempting to overshadow it.

Just calling the game is exactly where those at Seven have got it all wrong in 2012.

Instead of letting the on-field action speak for itself, and only adding comments in order to complement what is happening on the ground, Seven’s coverage has been rife with an over-obsession of pointless crowd shots, idiotic hyperbole, in-jokes and inane banter.

While the ABC’s team are forced to operate with less financial resources, their coverage keeps it simple and as such, treats their audience with respect, showing them exactly what it needs to see, and just lets the action do the talking.

This is essentially everything that is required to provide a competent broadcast.

The lack of following this simple broadcasting theory has marred the Seven coverage all season, and must be resolved if the viewing public are to retain any semblance of respect for the Seven broadcast.

On the eve of the most important game of the year, the AFL Grand Final, Seven would be well-advised to look to the ABC’s coverage for inspiration. By adopting the principle of ‘less is more’, and not falling into the trap of doing things for the sake of doing them just because they have the resources, Seven’s telecast would have a whole lot more credibility with the viewing public.

The majority of viewers only want to see the game and the players around it, combined with informed discussion based upon what is actually happening. Not pointless interaction with men who believe that the sole purpose of footy broadcasting is to ensure they themselves are heard as often and as loudly as possible, while acting as though they are the star of the show.

In the art of AFL broadcasting, the notion of getting the basics right and the rest will follow should be mandatory. The ABC are able to achieve this objective, so why can’t Seven?