Tim Gossage: On Top Of The Ladder For 30 Years
10 News First Director of Sport and Sport Presenter Tim Gossage will celebrate his 30th anniversary at the network on Wednesday.
The veteran sports reporter’s loyalty to his workplace and hometown of Perth has seen him become synonymous with sport in Western Australia.
“It’s a bit cliché – but I’m like footballers, they want to be a one-team player,” he said when he sat down with 10 daily in the lead up to his anniversary celebrations.
Gossage started at the network on August 21, 1989, as a casual reporter, but had second thoughts about working in the industry when he was sent to cover a cat rescue.
“They (Network 10) were keen for me to do news… I didn’t want to do news,” he said.
“They sent me on some sort of a rescue – I remember looking at the camera and saying ‘if these cats are alive I’ll quit journalism’ – and the next shot was a ‘meow’.
“That was one of the first stories I ever did and I thought if this is what it’s going to be like, maybe not, so I steered my way to sport.”
And in many ways, Gossage was destined to cover sport. He spoke of his idyllic Australian childhood, playing cricket in the backyard and talking sport around the table at his family home in Shenton Park.
“This is all I ever wanted to do growing up. I’ve told this story several times, but it’s fact – I grew up in the backyard at mum and dad’s playing sport with the family,” he said.
“From Test Match cricket, to footy, to the Olympic Games to speedway to tennis, we did everything, the neighbourhood was our own.”
It wasn’t long before he went from playing to calling backyard sport. Most 10-year-old boys would have been happy with just kicking the footy in the backyard, but Gossage took it a step further.
“I used to keep the score. I’d go inside, grab my sister’s typewriter, type out the match report, grab a tie out of dad’s cupboard, grab a hairbrush from mum, and stand in front of a mirror and present the sport,” he said.
In 1983 Gossage took his first job at the West Australian as a cadet journalist, and playing sport took a backseat.
“I got a job as a cadet journo at the West Australian through my dad who was working there as an accountant and that led to giving up sport full time. I played a bit of lower grade cricket and amateur football, but my career was never based on being a really good sportsman.”
But that never bothered Gossage, who said his way into the sporting spotlight was the career he carved for himself as a 10-year-old boy calling backyard cricket.
He pointed to one of his most fond professional memories – covering the 2005 AFL Grand Final between the West Coast Eagles and Sydney Swans at the MCG.
“I remember walking onto the MCG at quarter time. I stopped and thought ‘millions upon millions of people would give their right nurrie to swap spots - and I have a pass.’
“It doesn’t get much better – when you live and breathe sport – but you’ve never bought a ticket to get into a sporting contest.
“This is a kid that loved sport – and was pretty good at it, but reporting was a career I paved at 10 years old. For me, that was my Grand Final.”
Gossage got the chance to combine his passion for Aussie rules and his home state when he was tasked with putting together a local footy show that would become the iconic Western Front. The show ran on Network 10 for 10 seasons from 2002 until 2011, focusing on the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers, as well as the WAFL competition.
“The boss said we’ve got the AFL rights and we need half an hour fill between the two games on a Saturday, and asked what we could come up with,” Gossage said.
“I recruited Lachy (Lachlan Reid) from Seven and we did this local footy show and it stuck. 270 episodes later and people still talk about it.”
The Western Front remains the longest-running football show in Perth and has since found a new lease of life as a podcast on 10 Speaks.
The 30th anniversary at 10 is just another notch on the belt in Gossage’s “satisfying” career in which he “doesn’t have any more boxes to tick.”
He can add the milestone to the Dennis Cometti Award for Excellence by the WA Football Media Guild he received in 2012 for his television, radio and community work in the industry and the prestigious Geoff Christian Award in 2013 for being a standout media performer.
Over his career, Gossage has hosted some of Perth’s biggest sporting awards including the Sandover Medal and the WA Football Hall of Fame.
Inducting George Young, a former Aussie rules footballer who played with St Kilda in the VFL and Subiaco in the WAFL during the 1970s, was a career highlight for Gossage.
“I admired sportsmen from a young age and there’s going to be a gentleman at the 30th - George Young,” he said.
“Some people don’t know George Young. He’ll come in and be very understated, but even at a young age he was my idol - and in 2013 I inducted him into the Hall of Fame.
“So I was standing on a stage with a guy that I admired at since I was eight or nine.”
It’s no question Gossage is a hard worker, but he admits 10 has been a huge pillar in his career.
“I owe 10 everything – it owes me nothing. Never has 10 stood in my way of doing other things – whether it be radio work, auctioning, time with the family. I’ve made mistakes don’t get me wrong, because it’s that type of industry. I’ve got through by the skin of my teeth at various times, but I’ve been absolutely blown away by the support I’ve received from 10.”
Gossage puts his success and longevity in a volatile industry down to his sheer passion for sport and dedication to his craft – being a journalist first and a presenter second.
“I was a journalist at the West and 10. I was virtually told I’d never present… I had the strange voice and wore glasses and had to buck the trend.
“But I was a journalist first and I’ve always prided myself on that - I worked very hard on credibility, very hard on fact-checking.
Goss has no plans to hang up the mic anytime soon, but when he does sport will remain the focus.
“If I’m not presenting sport, I’ll be travelling the world – watching European golf and the Formula 1 circuit.”