Joel Peterson interviews former Bendigo Spirit star Kelsey Griffin. Photo: ANDREW PETERSON

Local sports journalist and broadcaster Joel Peterson made an impressive debut last weekend when he called the AFLW grand final and the Melbourne v Geelong AFL match as boundary rider.

Peterson has been asked to call the rest of the AFL season for ABC Grandstand both as boundary rider and caller.

“I’m thrilled with this exciting opportunity to live out a childhood dream,”he said.

“And last weekend working with the likes of Alistair Nicholson, Matt Clinch, Mick Malthouse and Brendon Goddard was brilliant.”

Before proceeding any further with this story, the Bendigo Weekly must declare a vested interest.

Peterson has been working with us as a sports journalist for the past six years. He started at the paper as a raw 18 year old, and everyone here likes to claim responsibility for his success.

But if the truth be known, the main person responsible for this success is Peterson himself.

While working for the Weekly he was also broadcasting with Fresh FM calling any manner of local sports from football to basketball, netball, lawnballs and soccer.

“This experience has been immensely enjoyable. And has had a huge influence on me as a caller and as a person,” he said.

“From freezing on the back of a truck at Kyneton to the social rooms at Warragul and the wobbly scaffold at Newbridge, I’ve enjoyed every minute, more than I ever could have imagined.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with an awesome team of people.

“I’m particularly indebted to the Fresh FM station manager Wallace Teasdale who always gave me valuable feedback.”

That Peterson has made the transition from country football to calling the AFL is extremely unusual and a testament to his skills and dedication.

Perhaps his childhood habit of kicking the footy in the backyard and calling the game to himself was crucial to his advancement.

“There’s no handbook for calling football,” he said.

“It doesn’t work turning the TV to mute and practise calling that way, because inevitably you’ll make mistakes and you won’t be working in real time.

“And learning how to call football isn’t a matter of learning the players’ numbers.”

Pointing out the obvious he said you can’t always see their numbers.

“I generally associate a name with a player’s tattoo or hair cut or colour of his boots.”

Peterson said he grew up admiring caller Rex Hunt who he thought hilarious but the caller he most admires for his integrity and consistency is legendary Bruce
McAvaney.

“Finally I want to have my own voice,” Peterson said.

Whether it be through radio, print or TV we are confident that “our Joel” is going to be one ripper of a journalist.