The best of the best Aussie footy-inspired songs
26.09.2019

The best of the best Aussie footy-inspired songs

Paul Kelly
Words by Tobias Handke

The perfect tracks to add to your AFL playlist.

A few months ago, Melbourne act Picket Palace blew up with their ode to Essendon footballer Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. The song, named after the enigmatic forward, is a frantic pop-punk number celebrating the Bombers champ which quickly went viral and became a huge hit with footy fans across the nation.

The track got us thinking about the best footy-inspired songs released over the past 50 odd years. From Greg Champion’s classic footy anthem ‘That’s The Thing About Football’ to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s ‘90s tribute ‘Footy Footy’, these are the best of the best footy songs to get you pumped for the AFL finals.

Greg Champion – ‘That’s The Thing About Football’

A staple during Channel 7’s coverage of the AFL in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, singer-songwriter Greg Champion’s ditty is a wonderful celebration of our great game. Champion sings about a couple of mates enjoying a day at the footy, with the film clip showcasing big marks, colourful footy identities and passionate fans. Champion belting out the catchy chorus “That’s what I like about/Yeah that’s the thing about/The thing about football” is enough to send shivers down the spine. An absolute classic.

Eric Bana – ‘Out Of Bounds’

Before he became a Hollywood superstar, Eric Bana was one of Australia’s favourite comedians, and this parody of famous footy personalities showcases Bana’s terrific impersonation skills. Taking on Rex Hunt, Robert DiPierdomenico, Dennis Cometti and Darrell Eastlake, Bana nails each commentator’s delivery in hilarious fashion, especially his over the top take on Eastlake, who’s known for his excitable tones.

Hunters And Collectors – ‘Holy Grail’

Apparently inspired by Napoleon’s ill-fated march on Russia in 1812, ‘Holy Grail’ is now synonymous with AFL grand final day. Hunters And Collectors frontman Mark Seymour has performed the song on the big day countless times, with the epic tune resonating with footy fans who all hope their team will be able to claim the Holy Grail on that last day in September.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – ‘Footy Footy’

Despite admitting it’s the shittest song on their album 12 Bar Bruise, ‘Footy Footy’ is also a favourite amongst the King Gizzard lads. A tribute to the greats of the ‘90s, the likes of Gavin Wanganeen, Dale Kickett, Darren Jarman and the entire 1995 Carlton team get a shout out on this two-minute burst of Aussie punk. It’s also the best thing about AFL Live 2.

Mike Brady – ‘Up There Cazaly’

Written about the great ruckman Roy Cazaly, Mike Brady’s unofficially AFL anthem is a simple yet effective call to arms for all footy fans. Based around the famous “Up there, Cazaly!” war cry fans would yell at the South Melbourne legend whenever he’d leap into the air and attempt to take a huge hanger, this is a timeless track that’s now part of Aussie footy folklore.

TISM – ‘Shut Up – The Footy’s On The Radio’

One of Australia’s most underrated acts live on thanks to Triple M. In 1997, TISM won a competition that saw their track ‘Shut Up – The Footy’s On The Radio’ chosen as the theme for the radio station’s weekend football coverage. In traditional TISM fashion, it’s a bit of a joke, with the song focusing on a man who keeps getting interrupted while trying to listen to the footy before eventually realising that if he shuts up, he’ll be able to hear the coverage. An edited version of this track is still used by Triple M today, continuing the legacy of TISM.

Chris Doheny – ‘More Than A Game’

The theme song to the now-defunct The Footy Show is an uplifting rock song in the vein of Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger.’ With lines such as, “All your life you’ve dreamed, now the time is here” and “The quest for the prize, it means everything to everyone”, it’s safe to say ‘More Than A Game’ will have you fired up and heading outside for a kick.

Paul Kelly – ‘Leaps And Bounds’

It wouldn’t be a list of ‘best footy songs’ without including Paul Kelly’s ‘Leaps And Bounds’. Capturing the experience of walking to the MCG and witnessing the big marks and spectacular goals, there’s a real feeling of nostalgia with this one, and it’s hard not to get caught up in Kelly’s provocative lyrics and rock instrumentation.

Never miss a story. Sign up to Beat’s newsletter and you’ll be served fresh music, arts, food and culture stories three times a week.