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Mick Molloy joins Channel Seven's Saturday night coverage

Former Before The Game stars Sam Lane and Mick Molloy.

Former Before The Game stars Sam Lane and Mick Molloy. Photo: Seven Network

Channel Ten axed popular footy comedy show Before The Game last December, in the depths of the footy off-season.

The ramifications for Ten are now becoming apparent deep in the following pre-season, with comedian Mick Molloy becoming the second former Before The Game presenter after Samantha Lane to join Channel Seven's Saturday night coverage.

“Comedian Mick Molloy has signed with Seven's Saturday Night Footy team in the biggest trade coup since Lance 'Buddy' Franklin landed in Bondi,” Channel Seven announced Wednesday.

Channel Seven's Saturday pre-match team: Luke Darcy, Sam Lane, Mick Molloy and Matthew Richardson.

Channel Seven's Saturday pre-match team: Luke Darcy, Sam Lane, Mick Molloy and Matthew Richardson. Photo: Seven Network

“A self-professed Tigers' tragic, Molloy will join Luke Darcy, Brian Taylor, Matthew Richardson, Cameron Ling and Sam Lane for the hour-long preview show on Saturday Night Footy throughout the 2014 AFL season.

“He will not be required to wear a suit and tie.”

Molloy, unsurprisingly, also took a comical approach. “It's the biggest move for Seven since Celebrity Splash. And I couldn't be happier to be at Seven, the only network that hasn't sacked me yet,” he said.

No wonder Seven is happily wisecracking. Before The Game was a staple of many footy fans in Melbourne, its lighthearted take on footy culture – and its ability to find the witty and playful side of AFL stars – offering an alternative to the blokey perennial, Channel Nine's Footy Show.

Does the gap left by before The Game mean Channel Seven is looking to air a lighter, more comedy-based lead-in on Saturday nights?

"The preview show has always been a mix of light entertainment and footy," a Channel Seven spokesman said. "That won't change. But Mick obviously brings a bit more colour and humour to the panel, as well as a layman's take on football issues, the voice from the outer."

Before The Game appeared in rude health when it was discontinued, its demise surprising many footy fans. Like Nine's Thursday night light entertainment flagship, it did not need footy highlights to thrive.

Owned not by Ten, but by production company Roving Enterprises, there was some hope the show might be picked up by another network. There was also some conjecture that the resignation of lynchpin Dave Hughes from a full-time role on the show, and his role on Ten's nightly The Project, affected the decision to cut Before The Game.

But Channel Ten boss Russel Howcroft told Triple M's Hot Breakfast that the show just didn't do well enough nationally.

“Unfortunately, it's a show that costs money to make.

“It actually is only watched in Melbourne – you'd think maybe Adelaide and Perth would watch it, so it's hard to get the ratings to the point that you need them.

“Commercially, it was hard to argue for it.”

The AFL instituted a Saturday twilight match last year, telecast on Fox Footy, which ran in direct competition with Before The Game, which was pulling in 200,000 viewers.

Upon the show's demise, blogger aussie80s spoke for many with his words on The Footy Almanac site:

“One of the flames I have been drawn to for the last decade has been Before The Game. Many TV shows try to be funny and entertaining but it is not easy to pull it off. Before The Game has been consistently entertaining whereas others such as The Footy Show only think they are. Others such as Live And Kicking, The Bounce etc tried and failed.”

Channel Seven has tried many light entertainment footy shows in the past 20 years, without success.

Asked if the network had considered bringing Before The Game to Channel Seven viewers, a spokesman replied: “No.”

11 comments so far

  • Before the Game "didn't do well nationally" because in Sydney it was a lottery to watch. This week it was live on One, next week scheduled for 1am but shown at 2.00 or vice-versa or maybe that was on Ten or I can't remember when because it was never consistently slotted.

    It did appear everyone on the panel and the guests had fun being there.

    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 2:25PM
    • Totally agree with Sally.
      Could never know when this show was on. Changed all the time. What was even more frustrating was the "quality" of the programs on instead of Before the Game.

      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 8:08AM
  • Ditto Sallys comments - Ten wanted it to fail in the north - I have seen networks warehouse programs before but this was a classic example

    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 4:11PM
    • It's hard being a footy fan north of the murray. Before the game was mostly shown well after the game up here, and as @Sally says at all sorts of odd times. Considering the footy is shown on the multichannels up here and the welter of crap that Ten populates its multi channels with, showing Before the Game before the game should not have been too hard one would think. Anyway, with great decisions like this, it can't be too long before Ten disappears up its own fundamental orifice. Can't come too soon really.

      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 4:40PM
      • I think its hard to enjoy anything afl up in the north unless you're a swans supporter, you can't beat 7mate showing every swans match free and live. But yeah, Before The Game was shown sporadically at best but was still unfotunately the best thing on channel 10 all week

        Date and time
        February 26, 2014, 7:41PM
    • Ditto to all the comments above . Seemed just plain silly to broadcast a show called "Before the Game " in a timeslot that was AFTER the game. I'd certainly like to see it with Mick Molloy , and i wouldn't miss Dave Hughes at all. (Doubtless a nice bloke , but i don't find him funny . Or smart.) Sam Lane is great though , and i like Richo and Darce - which i mention 'coz have seen criticism of them elsewhere online. But main point Ch. 7 : if you want interstate viewers put the program on at a regular time they are likely to watch it . If that's not possible we'll assume you don't care if there's an interstate audience or not.

      North Coast NSW
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 9:39PM
      • I stuck with Before The Game no matter what- and I agree with Sally's point about Ten wanting it to fail in Sydney - as they played it some weekends at 2 am, some at midnight, sometimes not at all, and then rarely did they update their website until four days plus either so that you couldn't watch re-runs on the web. I would buy a DVD of the best of Before The Game if they released it. The Fitzy and Hughesy Super Sprays were some of the funniest pieces I have ever seen on football. I don't bother watching The AFL Footy Show though as it is a bit banal. No comedians= no fun.

        Before The Game DVD
        Date and time
        February 27, 2014, 6:38AM
        • "a show that costs money to make". Surely it is cheaper than some of the reality TV rubbish that is shown. For entertainment, it was streaks ahead of The Footy Show which went downhill a long time ago. Light hearted, funny and it looked liked the footy players were relaxed and enjoyed being on the show. I watched the channel seven show once or twice last year...once or twice only.

          Date and time
          February 27, 2014, 8:54AM
          • Why is Brian Taylor still calling the footy on tv?
            He continually calls the wrong player (last year he kept referring to Josh Thomas as Kennedy).
            He has too many side chats with the other commentators and has a huge interest in players hairstyle.
            7 should have begged Sandy Roberts to resume calling the footy and dumped not only Taylor but the whole Saturday night team.

            Dump Taylor
            Date and time
            February 27, 2014, 11:07AM
            • Another stupid decision by Seven. Thank god for foxtel

              Date and time
              February 28, 2014, 6:12AM

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