Sam Newman

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Sam Newman
Personal information
Full name John Noel William Newman
Date of birth (1945-12-22) 22 December 1945 (age 68)
Place of birth Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Original team Geelong Grammar School
Height/Weight 190 cm / 98 kg
Position(s) Ruckman
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1964–1980 Geelong 300 (110)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1980 season.
Career highlights

John Noel William Newman (born 22 December 1945) known professionally as Sam Newman is a retired Australian rules football player and current television personality. He is a featured original presenter on the AFL version of The Footy Show.

VFL career[edit]

Recruited straight from school, Newman made his debut for Geelong in 1964 and was fortunate to have Graham "Polly" Farmer in the side as a role model. During the first semi-final against Collingwood in 1967, Newman suffered a serious injury which forced surgeons to remove part of his kidney, but he bounced back to win his club's "best and fairest" award in 1968 and 1975. He was also selected as an All-Australian player in 1969 and played for the Victorian State team eight times. Newman retired in 1980, having polled 100 Brownlow Medal votes throughout his career. In 2002, he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

After retirement[edit]

In December 2005, Newman was appointed as ruck coach for the Melbourne Football Club to mentor players such as Jeff White, Mark Jamar and Paul Johnson.

On 6 July 2010, Newman played in a charity match playing for Victoria in the annual EJ Whitten Legends Game. Newman kicked four goals from four kicks and three marks to be named best on ground, despite his team losing to the All Stars by seven points.

Media career[edit]

Newman joined radio station 3AW as a football commentator in 1981 and continued with the station through until the end of the 1999 season, he also appeared on World of Sport on Channel 7 for seven years from 1981-1987.

Newman has been a regular on the AFL version of The Footy Show since it first aired in 1994 on the Australian Nine Network. He acts as sidekick and resident clown. He regularly hosts Street Talk, a vox populi segment in which he interviews people on the streets, usually for comedic effect in suburbs of topical interest, as well as Sam's Mailbag, where he reads out correspondence purportedly from the public, shows funny footage and the occasional humorous look-alike of co-host Garry Lyon.

His other media appearances have included the Sunday sports show Any Given Sunday in 2005, World of Sport, The Sunday Footy Show and also co-hosting the short lived Sam and The Fatman with Paul "Fatty" Vautin. On radio station Triple M, Newman previews Friday night and Saturday afternoon matches. He formerly provided special comments during AFL games on Triple M, as well as 3AW previously.

From April 2010, he was a part of the MTR (Melbourne Talk Radio) lineup, providing opinion and participating in talkback between 9.00 am and 9.30 am, during the Steve Price breakfast programme. Newman quit the station in January 2012, after the breakfast producer censored Newman's profanity.[1]

Newman has also dabbled in singing, and in 2002 released a compilation album entitled I Do My Best Work After Midnight, consisting of 13 selections from other artists, as well as two songs sung by Newman himself – "Witchcraft" and "I've Got You Under My Skin".[2]

Personal life[edit]

Newman attended Geelong Grammar.[3] His father's aim for him was to become a barrister. His mother and two older sisters prefer to call him by his birth name of John.[4]

Newman's former house built in St Kilda, featuring an image of Pamela Anderson's face

He has been married three times and has three sons, aged 15, 30 and 34 (as of March 2013).[5]

As of 2009, Newman lives in an apartment in Melbourne's Docklands[6] where he also berths a luxury yacht. He owns four vintage cars and a warehouse.[7]

Motor sport[edit]

Newman took up motor racing in the GT Production Car class in the late 1990s[8] and subsequently competed in the Australian Nations Cup Championship in Lamborghinis and Ferraris. He also competed in the Mini Challenge series at the 2010 Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park. This was a one off drive in the series.


Newman has been involved in several incidents of public controversy.[9] Reports indicate that Newman is deliberately controversial, and that his on-air persona is nothing like his true self.[10] Particular incidents include:

  • 1997 – Newman's 25-year-old girlfriend, Leonie Jones, drove his own car into him outside his house, breaking his leg and an ankle.[11]
  • 1999 – On The Footy Show Newman blacked up his face to impersonate indigenous footballer Nicky Winmar, at a time when racial vilification charges were being levelled at some AFL players.[12]
  • 2005 – A female fan broke a window whilst trying to break into his Brighton house.[11]
  • 2008 – Mocking television personality and The Age newspaper writer Caroline Wilson regarding how she was dressed on Footy Classified three days earlier by bringing a mannequin model onto stage and stapling a cardboard cut-out of Wilson on the face of the model and "experimenting" with different outfits. Newman then moved the model about.[13] Wilson brought the issue up on Footy Classified on the following week's episode, speaking of her disappointment to Garry Lyon, Newman's co-presenter on The Footy Show.[14]
  • 2008 – Joking that an attractive Tasmanian MP, Paula Wriedt, was "Worth coming on her", after an interview featuring Wriedt was aired on The Footy Show. This was later explained as a misinterpretation.
  • 2009 – The Nine Network and Newman were sued for defamation by a female board member of the Western Bulldogs football team after he said on air that she was a "liar" and "hypocrite". They settled for $220,000 plus costs.[15]
  • 2009 – 17 September. During the Footy Show broadcast Newman likened a Malaysian man to a monkey, being "not long out of the forest". The Australian Communications and Media Authority ruled Newman was likely to have "provoked severe ridicule on the basis of the man's colour and race". Newman's employer, Channel Nine, offered to donate $200,000 to charity in the event of any future code breach and had "agreed to a number of other provisions in the enforceable undertaking, including significant senior management overview of the materials to be used by Mr Newman and a broad-ranging reporting regime and training obligation".[16]
  • 2010 – 30 June. Newman was criticised for disrespect to Aboriginal beliefs when he revealed on a radio show that he had hit a golf ball off the summit of Uluru.[17]
  • 2012 – 4 May. Newman caused controversy by pretending to smoke a bong on The Footy Show.[18]

Cancer diagnosis[edit]

On 5 March 2008 it was revealed that Newman was in hospital, undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.[19][20] On 6 March he underwent a procedure at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne to have the cancerous prostate removed. Newman asked that television cameras from Channel Nine's program 60 Minutes have full access to the procedure, as he believed it could help raise awareness of the issue among the greater public. Channel Nine personality and close friend Eddie McGuire covered the story for the program.

The program went to air on 9 March 2008. It contained footage filmed earlier that day in which Newman's urologist, Laurence Harewood, told him that the operation had been a success and that he had been cleared of the cancer.[21] Newman has since made a full recovery.


  1. ^ Drill, Stephen (25 January 2012). "Sam Newman quits troubled station MTR over use of F-word on air". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Geelong Grammar teacher reflects on career | ABC 7:30 Report Transcript
  4. ^ The Advertiser's 'SA Weekend' magazine, 21/03/09, 'Bovver Boy', pg. 8, cover article
  5. ^ The Advertiser's 'SA Weekend' Magazine, 21/03/09, 'Bovver Boy', pg. 9, cover article
  6. ^ Herald Sun article on Sam getting a helmet fine
  7. ^ The Advertiser's 'SA Weekend' Magazine, 21/03/09, 'Bovver Boy', pg. 6, cover article
  8. ^ "Beauty & The Beast". 10 May 1999. 
  9. ^ The Trouble With Sam
  10. ^ Hewitt, Sue (1 June 2008). "Eddie McGuire's plea to Sam Newman". Sunday Herald Sun. 
  11. ^ a b Newman's 'aggressive' female wake-up call – National –
  12. ^ "Sports Factor – Indigenous All Stars". ABC. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  13. ^ "Round 3 Preview". The Footy Show. Season 15. Episode 4. 2008-04-03.
  14. ^ "Round 3 Review". Footy Classified. Season 3. Episode 4. 2008-04-07.
  15. ^ "Defamation costs Channel Nine, Footy Show's Sam Newman $200K". AAP. 16 November 2009. 
  16. ^ Kellett, Christine (7 September 2010). "Newman's 'monkey' gibe costs Nine 200 gorillas". Melbourne. The Age. 
  17. ^ "Rock rage rolls on". Northern Territory News. 30 June 2010. 
  18. ^ "Sam Newman smokes bong on The Footy Show". Herald Sun. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Collier, Karen (5 March 2008). "Sam Newman has prostate cancer". Herald Sun. 
  20. ^ Sam Newman diagnosed with cancer
  21. ^ Evans, Chris (10 March 2008). "Newman clear but urges cancer tests". The Age. p. 6. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Geoff Ainsworth
Geelong F.C. captain
Succeeded by
Bruce Nankervis
Preceded by
Bill Goggin
Bruce Nankervis
Carji Greeves Medal
Succeeded by
Doug Wade
Ian Nankervis