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What I See with Peter Fiorenza: Recalling back to glory days when double act ruled local airwaves

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Llewyn Valli kicks the ball away against Pilbara in the country championships.
Camera IconLlewyn Valli kicks the ball away against Pilbara in the country championships. Credit: Justin Fris/RegionalHUB

Last week I spent time at the football country championships.

For some time, I have been part of the radio commentary team, which has a long and colourful history.

Going back to the 1980s and 90s the fortunes of the Great Northern Football League at the carnival were broadcast to the Mid West by the familiar voices of Brian “Putter” Smith and Michael Patrick Murphy.

I always remember how Putter and Mike, who also called the local competition, would organise a huge quiz night to raise funds for the team heading down to the annual carnival.

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Everyone who was anyone would go along to the event, often featuring a huge auction with items Putter and Mike had secured from dozens of local businesses.

The nights were, indeed, something special and this was in no small way thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of Putter and Mike.

The two men combined to become local celebrities, heading up many panel shows and sports nights throughout the region.

It is only now that many of us realise how generous these two men were.

The two larger-than-life characters gave their time freely and were always available to help out when they could.

Both were good sportspeople in their own right, too. Mike was a prominent player for Towns Football Club, while Putter starred for Rovers on the football field. He wielded the willow and also played hockey.

Sadly, they are no longer with us.

Putter died some 20 years ago, and Mike in recent weeks.

Glenn Barndon worked with both men during their broadcast days, saying they were endearing people who loved being part of the Geraldton sporting community.

“Sometimes you didn’t know what to expect. They were a definite double act when they got behind the microphone, often leaving me and many others speechless with laughter,” he said.

“It was a great time for local football, it was a halcyon period for the GNFL, and Putter and Mike were part of that.”

It is often only when something is gone that you value its very existence.

No doubt, Putter and Mike were unique, and a special part of local sporting history.

Peter Fiorenza hosts Fiorenza on Sunday between 10am and noon on Radio MAMA

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