Matt Clinch's ambition to become a sports broadcaster stretches back to grade six when he was appointed school captain on the condition that he wrote weekly sports reports. His boyhood dream became a reality when he snared a position as a sports broadcaster with ABC Grandstand in 2011 and has since commentated on a range of sports – from AFL and cricket to basketball and V8s.
Matt first joined the ABC as an intern in 2006 after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Media) at La Trobe. Within a year of calling games he received the Clinton Grybas 'Rising Star' Award from the Australian Football Media Association.
Before joining the Grandstand team full-time in 2011, Matt contributed to local radio in Melbourne, ABC News and was also part of the ABC TV Sport commentary team.
Do you have a personal philosophy that you bring to your work?
Given the industry is so tough to break into, it's taken quite a lot of focus and determination. I was reasonably fortunate that I knew exactly what I wanted to do but you still need to gain experience and advice to reassure you that you're actually any good, and whether you can make enough money to earn a living. After studying at La Trobe, I spent lots of time mucking around in studios of community radio, practice calling at local games, calling off TV and at the back of the stands at AFL matches. I've been really lucky to have some outstanding people offer support and advice along the way and now had the opportunity to move to a new city and further develop my skills.
What has been your greatest career highlight?
We used to have a BBQ on Australia Day which happened to be one of my good mate's birthdays. We'd have the radio on in the background listening to the cricket and we'd joke that one day I'd be sitting at the ground calling the match back to them. It always makes me smile heading to the ground now remembering how lucky I am to do a job I love.
What has been your greatest career challenge?
In the beginning you're wrestling with nerves. I remember calling my first game after doing weeks of preparation and looking through the binoculars for the first time thinking "I can't remember who any of these guys are!!!" Bruce McAvaney once said that after you get over the initial nerves you realise that preparation is the key to ensuring you're comfortable and ready to go.
What impact did La Trobe have on your career and life?
La Trobe provided the platform to springboard my career; I met a lot of great people and sharpened my focus as to what I wanted to do. In my final semester, my former boss came out to our radio class to do a presentation and we stayed in touch regularly which resulted in securing my first and current job.
Do you have any sage advice for those starting out in their careers?
Try and work out what specific area of the media you want to work in - print, online, TV or radio. Try to gain as much experience in that field as possible. Community radio and TV are great but voluntary media experience is invaluable (we all had to do it at some stage). Coffee, Coffee and more coffee, try to meet as many people in the industry to learn about what possibilities might be on the horizon in that organisation or elsewhere. Think about who you admire and what made them so successful in the industry. The new Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) degree at La Trobe sounds outstanding; it's exactly what I would have wanted to study when I was younger.
Where to from here?
My third AFL season in Adelaide, 2014 marks the historic shift from Football Park to the redeveloped Adelaide Oval - it's a new era of football in South Australia. Hopefully we'll be broadcasting the Cricket World Cup in Australia and NZ in 2015, further developing my commentary skills. And I'll be putting my hand up to work at the next Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.