The top 23 grand final speakers in Australia
Australia is a sporting nation through and through – you can’t deny it. There’s nothing that excites us more than watching an AFL or NRL team bust their guts in September to win their club a flag, with the heroes of the games instantly elevated to celebrity status for the years to come.
Why choose a grand final speaker for your event?
Having an AFL or NRL grand final player speak at your event is a guaranteed way to engage your audience and create a memorable and exciting occasion.
As well as bringing a huge amount of sporting expertise to the table, grand final speakers are thought-provoking and engaging to listen to and talk with. They’ve challenged adversities of all kinds and come out on top, and their stories on the sporting field are just as relatable and relevant in the real-world of business and beyond. .
Among ICMI’s grand final talent which spans decades of sporting history you’ll find some of Australia’s most renowned premiership personalities, as well as those who play vital roles behind the scenes and off the field.
Here, we’re highlighting some of this year’s best grand final speakers, including premiership players, coaches, club employees and media presenters involved in the action.
One of Australia’s most beloved sports media personalities, Billy Brownless is a household name. A Geelong Cats hero with 441 goals to his name, Billy moved gracefully into media after retiring from the AFL in 1998, and he’s been a regular fixture on TV screens ever since thanks to his down-to-earth personality and hilarious manner.
Daisy Pearce is a ten-time Aussie rules premiership player and works as Seven’s main AFL boundary commentator, notably covering the 2018 and 2019 AFL grand finals. Considered the face of women’s football, she’s a superstar both on and off the field, rallying for gender reform in sport and recognised nationwide as a strong leader.
With four premiership victories under his belt, you can be assured that David Parkin is an expert AFL grand final speaker. He’s one of the most decorated coaches of the 20th century, serves as a media commentator and even lectures sports and exercise science at University. His knowledge of the game is rivalled by none.
Emma Murray has dedicated her career as a mindfulness and meditation teacher towards shaping some of Australia’s most inspiring athletes. Best known as the peak performance mind coach who helped take Richmond to their three recent premiership wins, she creates meaningful and lasting changes with her unique skillset, and her perspective on what it means to be elite is truly fascinating.
Regarded as one of the best rugby speakers in the world, Eric Rush is a New Zealand rugby Sevens icon. But it’s how he’s lived life off the field that makes him so motivating. He’s a barrister and a successful businessman who knows how to command a crowd, with his experience in sports and business making him a natural talent.
There’s no South Australian sporting name quite as famous as Cornes. A lauded SANFL player, premiership coach, media personality and Vietnam war veteran, Graham Cornes OAM is a national sporting icon and a rousing motivational speaker, and his perspective on the game is simply invaluable.
An AFL coaching professional who has worked tirelessly to embed herself within the game, Michelle Cowan is a staple of Western Australia’s AFLW landscape. She’s coached Fremantle’s AFLW team and worked in high performance roles for the West Coast Eagles, breaking new barriers for women in AFL and inspiring several in her wake.
Few stories are as hilarious and inspiring as Mick Colliss’ mission to represent Australia – no matter what. A celebrated author, commentator, poet and keynote speaker, Mick is a keen sports fan and a maverick talent behind the microphone, and is a widely popular after dinner speaker for events.
Moana Hope is a marquee AFLW player, TV personality and an advocate for LGBTIQA+ visibility within Australian rules football. Moana rose to achieve greatness on the field after overcoming great adversity earlier in life, and her never-say-die attitude makes her an inspiration among girls and women around the country.
Nicole Livingstone OAM is an Olympic swimmer who has asserted herself as one of Australia’s most respected sports media performers, appearing on almost every major network in her career. Outside of swimming, Livingstone is recognised as a respected executive, with her current appointment as CEO of Women’s Football (AFLW) seeing her help shape the growth of Australia’s fastest growing game.
A Brownlow-winning Hawthorn Football Club legend valued for his toughness on the field, Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico is a five-time VFL premiership player with a larger-than-life personality and the heart of a lion. A respected media presenter and one of the most popular MCG grand final speakers, Dipper is an instantly recognisable football icon who will prove to be the highlight of any event.
After winning a premiership with North Melbourne in 1975, Sam Kekovich embarked on a media career that would see him become a cult national hero thanks to his flamboyant on-screen rants and eccentric persona. Kekovich’s profile was boosted further thanks to his involvement in the popular ‘We Love Our Lamb’ advertising campaign, and is a memorable speaker with an infectious energy that’s perfect for events.
A multi award-winning sports writer, radio and TV presenter, author and noted footy fanatic, Samantha Lane has a way with words that makes her a compelling subject at business events. Sam also holds ongoing ambassadorial roles for a number of organisations, and is recognised as a true trailblazer within sports media.
The former vice president of the Western Bulldogs football club and a driving force in the development of the AFLW, Susan Alberti AC is a renowned businesswoman and philanthropist known by many as ‘The Footy Lady’. One of Australia’s most influential business tycoons, Sue’s remarkable life story makes her a fascinating speaker for your grand final event.
Whether you know him as an Essendon club legend or Seven’s daily sports reporter, Tim Watson is a fixture within Australia’s football landscape. Tim’s experience on the field and in the media has provided him with a unique perspective on sport, professional development and life, and his skills as a presenter are second to none.
Considered by many to be one of the greatest footballers to ever play the game, few AFL personalities are as revered as North Melbourne champion Wayne Carey. A seven-time All Australian and double AFL grand final hero, Wayne is also a seasoned media personality who has managed to overcome significant challenges throughout his career, giving him a unique approach to engaging with audiences at sporting events.
Dubbed “The Greatest Coach Ever”, Wayne Bennett was awarded this title after coaching the Brisbane Broncos to another victorious win in the 2006 Rugby League Grand Final.
Winners don’t wait for chances, they take them. And no one has made a habit of winning more than great Craig Bellamy. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest Rugby League coaches of all time. Starting out assistant coaching the Brisbane Bronco’s to two titles, Wayne is best known for coaching the Melbourne Storm to eight Grand Finals and winning 4 titles. Craig makes history. And he’s only going to create more. Don’t miss the chance to find out his winning secrets.
Rugby League Immortal and National Coach, Malcolm Norman Meninga OAM is an Australian rugby league identity. As a player he was a legendary centre who made the most appearances and scored the most points of any player in the green and gold jersey. Mal has previously coached the Canberra Raiders and is now the current coach of the Queensland State of Origin team.
Trevor Gillmeister is an Australian former rugby league player, who during his career played for the Sydney Roosters, Brisbane Broncos, Penrith Panthers and the South Queensland Crushers as well as representing Queensland and Australia. He played at Second Row and was known as ‘The Axe’ because of his punishing tackles. He won Player of the Year in 1991 with the Broncos, winning two back to back Premierships.
Nicknamed The King, Wally Lewis AM represented Queensland in 31 rugby league games from 1980 to 1991 and was captain from 1981 to 1991. He was named Man of the match in 8 State of Origin games. Wally also represented Australia on more than 60 occasions, and now enjoys the ultimate rating in rugby league – one of the greatest players of all time.
Former Rugby League Star David Peachey is the founder of The David Peachey Foundation which supports indigenous kids from rural and remote areas that excel or show potential in rugby league. In 2003, Peachey was named in the top ten Cronulla Sharks Legends, as nominated by the fans and picked by a panel of rugby league experts.
Peter FitzSimons AM is a former Australian rugby union player and modern day media personality. He is also one of sport’s, and Australia’s great wits and social commentators. Armed with strong opinions, he is often challenging but always well researched and incredibly articulate.
Whether you’re looking for an AFL champion, former rugby hero or another sporting icon for your function, tap into this year’s finals fever and get in touch with ICMI to book your next event’s grand final speaker today.