Jump to content

Sam Newman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sam Newman
Personal information
Full name John Noel William Newman
Nickname(s) Sam, Fossil, Foss
Date of birth (1945-12-22) 22 December 1945 (age 78)
Place of birth Geelong, Victoria
Original team(s) Geelong Grammar School
Height 189 cm (6 ft 2 in)[1][2][3]
Weight 94 kg (207 lb)[1]
Position(s) Ruck, forward
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1964–1980 Geelong 300 (110)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
Victoria 8 (?)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1980.
Career highlights




Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

John Noel William "Sam" Newman (born 22 December 1945) is a former Australian rules footballer who played for the Geelong Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL).

A talented and athletic player who served his apprenticeship under Graham "Polly" Farmer, Newman became Geelong's main ruckman after Farmer departed at the end of 1967. He overcame a number of serious injuries during his career to become the first Geelong player to reach 300 senior VFL games.

After retiring in 1980, Newman served as a specialist ruck coach at various AFL clubs and had a notable media career, particularly with Melbourne-based radio station 3AW and the Nine Network as a panel member of The Footy Show, one of the network's most popular and often controversial programs.

Early life


Newman attended Geelong Grammar School, where his father was a teacher.[4][5]

He made his debut for Geelong in 1964 when he was 18 years old.[6] Early in his time at Geelong he acquired the nickname "Sam", by which he is now usually known.[7]

Football career


After playing five reserves games for Geelong at the end of 1963, Newman was selected for his senior debut in Round 3 of the 1964 VFL season against Fitzroy at Brunswick Street Oval. During the first semi-final against Collingwood in 1967, Newman suffered a serious injury which forced surgeons to remove part of his kidney. He was also selected as an All-Australian player in 1969. He played for the Victorian state team eight times.

1980 was Newman's last season as a VFL footballer. In Round 4 against North Melbourne at Arden Street Oval, he kicked five goals playing as centre half-forward, four of those in the last quarter, in a 37-point win. Geelong coach Bill Goggin praised his former teammate after the match: "He is such an inspiration to the players. They have told me that just having him out there with them gives everyone a lift".[8] Newman reached his 300th senior VFL game in Round 20 against Collingwood at Kardinia Park.[9] Although he had a quiet game, the Cats achieved an 18-point win. NOTE: Some time after the end of Newman's playing career, certain games were not recognised as official VFL/AFL matches and hence were removed from players' game tallies.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.[10]

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 E. J. Whitten Legends Game. He 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


Newman joined radio station 3AW as a football commentator in 1981 and continued with the station until the end of the 1999 season. He also appeared on World of Sport on Channel 7 for seven years from 1981 to 1987 and had a column in The Sun News-Pictorial newspaper during the late 1980s.

Newman joined the Nine Network in 1989, appearing on a sports segment on In Melbourne Today with Ernie Sigley and Denise Drysdale. In 1992 he was a reporter on Melbourne Extra, a short-lived local current affairs show.[11] He was a panel member of The Sunday Footy Show from 1993 to 1998.

Newman was on The Footy Show (AFL) from when it first aired in 1994 until 2018 on the Nine Network.[12] He also appeared on the Sunday sports show Any Given Sunday in 2005, and co-hosted the short lived Sam and The Fatman with Paul Vautin. On the radio station Triple M, Newman previewed Friday night and Saturday afternoon matches. He formerly provided special comments during AFL games on Triple M, as well as 3AW. From April 2010, he was part of the Melbourne Talk Radio lineup, providing opinion and participating in talkback between 9.00 am and 9.30 am, during the Steve Price breakfast program. Newman quit the station in January 2012, after the breakfast producer censored Newman's profanity.[13]

In February 2018, he joined a podcast with former Herald Sun chief football writer Mike Sheahan and former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas, entitled Sam, Mike and Thomo. The podcast aired once weekly and covered all trending topics, with some AFL commentary. In March 2019 it was announced by Newman on social media that the podcast would be discontinued as he was perceived to make fun of transgender people on a prior episode of the podcast. However, in August he revived the podcast, starring Sheahan and former VFL footballer Don Scott, entitled Sam, Mike & Don, You Cannot Be Serious.[14] It aired with this name until June 2020, when Sheahan quit for a second time due to the fallout of comments made by Scott about former AFL footballer Nicky Winmar. It was then renamed to You Cannot Be Serious.[15]

In December 2018, Eddie McGuire announced that Newman had signed a new multi-year deal with Nine; however, The Footy Show, of which Newman had been a part of with McGuire since the show started in March 1994, was replaced by a football show in a new format in 2019. Newman and McGuire were meant to host four Footy Show "specials" in 2019, but upon it being announced in May 2019 that The Footy Show would no longer be aired, this was cancelled.

In June 2020, Newman announced that he would no longer appear on the Nine Network.

In March 2023, Sam Newman announced on the You Cannot Be Serious podcast with Don Scott that their podcast had reached 10 million downloads on Podbean.[16]



Newman has regularly been a controversial figure during his media career, with some of his most controversial incidents on The Footy Show including:

  • Wearing blackface to impersonate legendary Indigenous AFL footballer Nicky Winmar in 1999, after Winmar did not attend a scheduled appearance on the program[17]
  • Having his trousers pulled down by Shane Crawford live on-air in 2001[18]
  • Hitting an unsuspecting David Schwarz with a pie in the face during an appearance on The Footy Show, with Schwarz responding by shoving Newman to the ground
  • Manhandling and groping a lingerie-clad mannequin with journalist Caroline Wilson's face attached to it in 2008, in response to the way Wilson was dressed on Footy Classified. Newman was suspended by the Nine Network after the incident
  • Describing five female directors of AFL clubs as "liars and hypocrites" after they complained about Newman's mannequin skit, leading one of those directors, Susan Alberti, to sue the Nine Network for $220,000
  • Smoking a bong on-air in 2012 after the AFL banned marijuana as a game-day substance; the substance in the bong was later revealed to be tea leaves
  • In 2013, following the Adam Goodes booing saga involving him asking for a girl to be ejected for racial abuse for calling him an ape and his traditional spear-throwing celebration later on in response to crowd hostility, Newman defended the rights of fans to continue booing as a show of disapproval for Goodes' actions, including a perception that his approach in dealing with the Collingwood fan who called him an ape was heavy-handed.[19][20] Newman, after the subsequent spear-throwing celebration, said on The Footy Show:

    From one Australian to another Australian – I’m an Australian so is Adam Goodes – Adam you’re not important as you think you are and you take yourself far too seriously.

    If you’re going to provoke people by the gesture of spear-throwing at a crowd, you better not be surprised if you get what you wish for and that’s a reaction.

    Unfortunately you’re not well-enough equipped to deal with fracas and the saga that you’ve caused. You’re just not capable of dealing with it, hence the fact you’ve gone into hiding, you’re not playing anymore.

    It is on you as an Australian of the Year to unite and placate people, not to divide and be a provocateur.

    How about the condescending nature of people who say if you’re an AFL fan and you go to the football and you boo Adam Goodes you’re a racist. How gratuitously stupid is that? I would suggest that the people boo Adam Goodes because he has turned their game into a political forum and people go to the football to get away from everything as a release, as an outlet and they don’t want to have to put up with a political statement.[21]

In 2019, Newman tweeted, "Criticizing someone from another race - doesn’t make you a racist. The groveling doco by Sharkshit [sic] Productions ‘The Final Quarter’, should be ‘The Last Straw’. Adam Goodes initially was booed for taunting Carlton fans. Racist? So be it. #racism #fakenews"[22][23] In 2023, Newman also commented regarding the historical booing of Adam Goodes from a decade prior, saying: "Adam Goodes was booed because he pretended to throw a spear at the Carlton cheer squad after the Swans were beating them by 10 goals at half-time and wondered why people, people get booed on the football field, not because of their skin colour, but because of things they do."[24]

  • Describing NFL draftee Michael Sam as "annoyingly gratuitous" in 2014 after the openly homosexual player kissed his boyfriend on live television on being drafted to the NFL[25]
  • Making remarks about Mitch Clark's depression issues in 2015
  • Referring to transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner as "he" and "it" in 2017[26]
  • Staging a silent protest and refusing to speak throughout an episode in 2017 after producers refused to allow him to dress up as a woman in response to two senior AFL executives being exposed as having had affairs with junior staffers; the Nine Network responded by taking The Footy Show off air for four weeks, sacking Craig Hutchison as host, and replacing him with Eddie McGuire[27]
  • Ranting about the AFL Commission's decision to publicly support the "yes vote" in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, which would pave the way for legalising same-sex marriage[26]

In June 2020, Newman arrived at a mutual agreement with the Nine Network to resign from the network after he stated in a podcast that while George Floyd died as a consequence of police brutality, Floyd's extensive criminal record meant he was a "piece of shit".[28]

The following week, Newman engaged in a conversation with Don Scott and Mike Sheahan on the podcast in which they cast doubt that Nicky Winmar's famous jumper raise in 1993 was about Winmar responding to racism, with Scott and Sheahan instead suggesting that they believed it was to signify a "gutsy" effort. Winmar and photographer Wayne Ludbey took legal action against Newman, Scott and Sheahan, alleging defamation, with the parties reaching an agreement during mediation involving a formal apology and an undisclosed donation to an Indigenous charity.[29] Newman later said in an interview with sports journalist Tony Jones that the fine/donation amounted to $100,000, which had previously been reported by The Guardian.[30][31]

Newman's controversies continued even after being sacked from the Nine Network.

  • In November 2020, Newman described the newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden as "mentally retarded and has special needs" on Twitter.[32]
  • On a podcast episode from 27 July 2023, Newman stated that anyone voting for the "Yes" vote regarding The Indigenous Voice to Parliament should be embarrassed. He commented, "I don't think there's a hell of a lot of Indigenous history to learn... They don't have a history."[33]
  • In September 2023, in the weeks leading up to the 2023 AFL Grand Final, Newman encouraged his podcast listeners to boo or sarcastically slow-clap in response to the "Welcome to Country", a ceremony usually undertaken by Indigenous representatives during significant public occasions, calling it "irrelevant" and "unnecessary". Newman's comments were widely condemned by the broader community, including AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews,[34][35][36] and the preliminary finals matches held in the immediate wake of Newman's comments saw the Welcome to Country ceremonies enthusiastically embraced by stadium audiences in a rebuke to Newman's plea.[37][38] Newman would later claim in an interview that this call was "provocative" and "tongue-in-cheek" and, when pressed, implied that he himself would not boo the Welcome to Country.[39]
  • Newman's calls to action (such as calls to boo Welcome to Country and his fallacious comments on Winmar) have been considered as racist and a form of dog-whistling. On the other hand, Newman has consistently talked of deep respect and appreciation for his main mentor and personal hero, Aboriginal player Polly Farmer.[40][41][42]



Newman had a brief career in motor racing. He began racing in 1998 in Class C of the Australian GT Production Car Championship, where he finished in 10th place in a Ford EL Falcon XR8. In the 1999 Australian GT Production Car Championship he raced a Holden Vectra GL to third place in Class D driving for Gibson Motorsport. He then went on to finish in fourth place in Class D at the 1999 Poolrite GTP Bathurst Showroom Showdown driving with Melinda Price. He drove the Vectra to fifth place in Class E in the 2000 Australian GT Production Car Championship. He also raced a V8 Supercar at the support races at the Australian Grand Prix in the same year. Running a Gibson Motorsport prepared VS Commodore, he finished 25th, 24th and 23rd in the three races across the weekend.

In 2001, Newman raced a Ferrari 360 Challenge for Prancing Horse Racing as a teammate to multiple Australian champions (in various categories) and Bathurst 1000 winner John Bowe in the 2001 Australian Nations Cup Championship, finishing in 14th place. In the 2002 Championship, Newman acquitted himself well and improved to finish 10th in the series

Newman's brightest moment in motor racing was when he put his Ferrari on pole position for the 2002 Sandown 500.[43] Newman benefited in the Top 10 shootout for pole as he was the first driver on the track. Before the next driver went out, the rain came down and Newman ended up over 6 seconds faster than the 2nd placed Porsche 996 GT3 of racing legend Jim Richards. Newman and co-driver Scott Shearman went on to finish the race 6th outright.[44]

Newman defected to Team Lamborghini for the 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship and, driving the V12 Lamborghini Diablo SVR and GTR models, improved to finish 7th outright in the championship. He finished the series in 9th place in Group 1 and 3rd place in Group 2.[45]

After leaving motor racing at the end of 2003, Newman would again race in the 2009 and 2010 Mini Challenge Australia championships, both times at the Albert Park round in the Uber Star Celebrity Car.

Career results


Results sources from:[46]

Season Series Position Car Team
1998 Australian GT Production Car Championship Class C 10th Ford EL Falcon XR8 Ross Palmer Motorsport
1999 Australian GT Production Car Championship Class D 3rd Holden Vectra GL Gibson Motorsport
2000 Australian GT Production Car Championship Class E 4th Holden Vectra GL Gibson Motorsport
2001 Australian Nations Cup Championship 14th Ferrari 360 Challenge Prancing Horse Scuderia
2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship 10th Ferrari 360 Challenge Prancing Horse Scuderia
2002 Australian Nations Cup Championship Group 2 2nd Ferrari 360 Challenge Prancing Horse Scuderia
2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship 7th Lamborghini Diablo SVR
Lamborghini Diablo GTR
Team Lamborghini Australia
2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship Group 1 9th Lamborghini Diablo GTR Team Lamborghini Australia
2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship Group 2 3rd Lamborghini Diablo SVR Team Lamborghini Australia
2010 Mini Challenge Australia 31st Mini Cooper S BMW Australia

Personal life


Newman lives in Docklands, Melbourne.[10] In 2002, he 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 himself: "Witchcraft" and "I've Got You Under My Skin".[47] In 2008 he was treated for prostate cancer,[48][49] and he allowed Channel Nine's program 60 Minutes to film the operation.[50] Following the operation, he was cleared of the cancer.[51]

He has been married four times. His last wife, Amanda Brown, died aged 50 in May 2021 despite Newman trying to revive her using CPR for 20–30 minutes.[52][53] The two had been together for 20 years, only getting married in late 2020, about six months before her death.[54][55] Newman recorded an emotional tribute to his late wife on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious.[53]


  1. ^ a b Australian Football – Sam Newman
  2. ^ AFL Tables – Sam Newman – Stats – Statistics
  3. ^ Herald Sun – The modern ruckman must be over 200cm tall to compete in Land of the Giants
  4. ^ Geelong Grammar teacher reflects on career | ABC 7:30 Report Transcript
  5. ^ "The Newman Club". Geelong Grammar School. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  6. ^ AFL – It's 50 years of footy with Geelong great and TV personality John 'Sam' Newman
  7. ^ "The Trouble With Sam". Australian Story. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Newman boots five for Geelong over North". The Canberra Times. Vol. 54, no. 16, 278. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 20 April 1980. p. 26. Retrieved 29 July 2021 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "MILESTONES : ONE GOAL LEFT FOR CATS' 'SAM'". The Football Record. 16 August 1980. p. 7.
  10. ^ a b Wham, bam, thank you Sam!, The Advertiser, 20 March 2009
  11. ^ Perkin, Corrie (7 June 1999). "Melbourne would be boring without him". The Age. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  12. ^ Moran, A; Keating, C. The A to Z of Australian Radio and Television. Scarecrow Press. p. 168.
  13. ^ Drill, Stephen (25 January 2012). "Sam Newman quits troubled station MTR overuse of F-word on air". Herald Sun. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Heraldsun.com.au | Subscribe to the Herald Sun for exclusive stories". Archived from the original on 11 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Mike Sheahan quits his podcast with Sam Newman and apologises after Nicky Winmar racism furore". 30 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Sam Newman and Channel 9 part ways following recent backlash". News.com.au. 19 June 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Australian-dream". 21 September 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Shane Crawford feared losing captaincy after infamous Sam Newman dacking incident". Wide World of Sports. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  19. ^ Sheehan, Paul (30 July 2015). "The Adam Goodes fire was lit by his conduct, not his race". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  20. ^ "Adam Goodes booing: Gillon McLachlan calls for footy to get its respect back as captains of all 18 AFL clubs make plea to fans". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Sam Newman goes whack on 'groveling' Adam Goodes documentary | Sporting News Australia". www.sportingnews.com. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  22. ^ https://twitter.com/Origsmartassam/status/1137851988194910208. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ "Sam Newman's furious phone call to filmmakers over Adam Goodes documentary | Sporting News Australia". www.sportingnews.com. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  24. ^ readSeptember 21, Jack MahonySports Reporter3 min; 2023 - 2:55pm (21 September 2023). "Newman claims booing of Goodes was 'not because of skin colour'". skynews. Retrieved 6 May 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "NFL draftee Michael Sam's kiss 'annoyingly gratuitous': Sam Newman". The Age. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  26. ^ a b Blair, Alex (21 September 2018). "Sam's most 'disgusting' moment". News.com.au. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  27. ^ "Eddie McGuire opens upon his return to The Footy Show; Sam Newman addresses bizarre performance". News.com.au. 23 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Sam Newman leaves Channel Nine after George Floyd comments". ABC. 20 June 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  29. ^ "Apologetic Newman, co-hosts made to pay a six-figure settlement ends Winmar fight". Fox Sports. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  30. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (4 July 2020). "Nicky Winmar accepts apology and $100,000 settlement over racist comments in podcast". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  31. ^ Tony Jones And Sam Newman Get Heated On Radio Welcome To Country. Retrieved 6 May 2024 – via www.youtube.com.
  32. ^ "Sam Newman slammed over 'vile' tweet about Joe Biden". Fox Sports. 8 November 2020. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  33. ^ https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/backlash-against-sam-newmans-disgusting-rant-about-indigenous-people/news-story/0620dffe03578e6ab2bf5629ffad99c4
  34. ^ Sam Newman Faces Backlash For Telling Fans To Boo Welcome To Country, retrieved 22 September 2023
  35. ^ "'Not going to dignify it': AFL boss condemns Sam Newman's Welcome to Country call". Fox Sports. 21 September 2023. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
  36. ^ "Daniel Andrews fires back at Sam Newman's call for Aussies to boo Welcome to Country".
  37. ^ "Sam Newman's plea to boo Welcome to Country rejected by heaving MCG crowd".
  38. ^ "Brisbane crowd's epic response during Welcome to Country".
  39. ^ "Tony Jones questions Sam Newman over call to boo Welcome to Country". 3AW. 20 September 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  40. ^ "AFL 2019: Sam Newman pays tribute to Graham 'Polly' Farmer". Fox Sports. 15 August 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  41. ^ ""He Was My Hero": Sam Newman Pays Tribute To Geelong Teammate Graham 'Polly' Farmer". Triple M. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  42. ^ Sam Newman's beautiful tribute to Polly Farmer | AFL 360. Retrieved 6 May 2024 – via www.youtube.com.
  43. ^ "Sandown 500 Sandown International Motor Raceway Sandown 500 Top Gun Challenge". National Software. 7 September 2002. Archived from the original on 4 September 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  44. ^ "Sandown 500 Sandown International Motor Raceway 2002 Sandown 500". National Software. 8 September 2002. Archived from the original on 4 September 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2008.
  45. ^ 2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship – Outright Points, www.procar.com.au via web.archive.org Retrieved on 19 September 2010
  46. ^ https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/sam-newman/ Sam Newman Career Motor Racing Highlights
  47. ^ "Sam Newman – I do My Best Work After Midnight (2002, CD)". Discogs. 22 September 2023.
  48. ^ Collier, Karen (5 March 2008). "Sam Newman has prostate cancer". Herald Sun.
  49. ^ Sam Newman diagnosed with cancer Archived 7 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  50. ^ "Two of us". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 April 2014.
  51. ^ Evans, Chris (10 March 2008). "Newman clear but urges cancer tests". The Age. p. 6.
  52. ^ "Sam Newman performed CPR on his beloved wife Amanda Brown for 20 minutes | | Express Digest". 5 May 2021. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  53. ^ a b Development, PodBean. "Episode 94 – Part 1 – Amanda". smartassam.podbean.com. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  54. ^ Estcourt, David (5 May 2021). "'Completely helpless': Sam Newman reveals trauma over wife Amanda Brown's death". The Age. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  55. ^ "'I knew she was dead': Star's desperate bid to save his wife". Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved 5 June 2021.