Footy’s first female caller, Kelli Underwood, is returning to the commentary box on Wednesday night with Fox Footy a decade after her trailblazing debut.
Footy’s first female caller, Kelli Underwood, is returning to the commentary box on Wednesday night with Fox Footy a decade after her trailblazing debut.

Trailblazing footy commentator set to make her return

Footy trailblazer Kelli Underwood is returning to the commentary box more than a decade after becoming the first female to call the game.

Underwood will commentate on Wednesday night's Richmond and Fremantle match being broadcast on Fox Footy.

In 2009 Underwood made her footy commentary debut on Network 10.

"It has been a long time coming hasn't it?" Underwood said.

"I've done all the AFLW seasons on Fox Footy, I've called for more than a decade now on ABC radio and I'm older, I'm more experienced.

"I've called hundreds and hundreds of games now and for me it's my job, it's what I do, so it was a no brainer."

Underwood was contacted by Fox Sports Executive Director, Steve Crawley, who said "the world is changing finally".

A long-time reporter and host of sport, Underwood said she felt ready.

Braith Anasta, Adam Gilchrist, Kelli Underwood and Dermott Brereton at the Foxtel Media Launch last year.
Braith Anasta, Adam Gilchrist, Kelli Underwood and Dermott Brereton at the Foxtel Media Launch last year.

"I think it was just a handful of games (with Ten) but it was initially terrifying,'' she said.

"Because the longest I'd been on TV before that was a 90 second news cross and suddenly you're calling in a three hour broadcast.

"I look back and think oh my goodness it was such a big ask, but I have never regretted it. It's opened so many doors and other opportunities have come from it.

"All I've ever wanted to do is be good at my job and earn people's respect."

Underwood will call alongside Mark Howard and is also scheduled to commentate next Wednesday night during the second Fox Footy Frenzy of 31 games in 20 days.

Crawley said he was proud that more women are getting opportunities on merit.

"It's 2020, it's old fashioned to carry on about women in sport and I honestly believe that's something people did a long time ago,'' he said.

"If someone is good enough to call they're good enough to call, it's not about their gender.

"There's no doubt that we will (use more women). The important thing is it's never tokenism. I think the world is changing finally."

jackie.epstein@news.com.au

Originally published as Trailblazing footy commentator set to make her return