'Felt sick': Commentator lifts the lid on Eddie McGuire feud

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Veteran AFL commentator Tim Lane has revealed what fuelled his feud with Collingwood president and Channel 9 stalwart Eddie McGuire in the early 2000s. Pictures: Getty Images

Veteran AFL commentator Tim Lane has opened up about his long-running feud with Collingwood president and Channel 9 stalwart Eddie McGuire, revealing he ‘felt sick’ when he realised a recently-signed agreement was on the brink of falling apart.

Lane had agreed to join Nine 2002 to call games alongside McGuire, on the contractual proviso that his co-host wouldn’t call Collingwood games.

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But as the season approached, Lane suspected the Magpies president had no such plans to step down for his team’s games.

At the network’s season launch, Lane was stood alongside McGuire and the rest of that year’s commentary team when Nine’s backflip was revealed - Magpies games would indeed have McGuire on the mic.

In an interview with the Herald Sun, Lane said he was incensed by the double-cross, both in how it had been revealed to him, and also how it would affect his work.

“I wasn’t completely surprised, but I also felt sick,” he said.

“We left the stage to mix and mingle and right in front of me appeared (Lane’s manager), greeting me with the words: ‘We have a problem’.

“I could have just backed down and accepted what was before me — and pressure was put on me to do that — but I had to ask myself why it had been important to push for these conditions in the first place.”

Tim Lane left Eddie McGuire, Channel 9 over ‘objectivity’ concerns

Lane said he phoned McGuire the next day to tell him he was considering pulling out of his Channel 9 deal.

In addition to his upcoming work with Nine, Lane was juggling responsibility as the ABC’s chief caller - so the day after that, he called McGuire and Nine once more to inform them he was out.

What followed was a nearly hour-long grilling, with a furious McGuire letting Lane know exactly what he thought of the move.

“When I told him my position was unchanged, Eddie was angry,” Lane said.

Lane wasn’t exactly a happy camper himself, and in one of several interviews he did after the contract fell apart, said there was a ‘perceived conflict of interest’ when it came to McGuire calling Magpies matches - a comment he said he would later regret.

Dennis Cometti was was convinced to become Lane’s replacement, which he said was ‘a little awkward’ given what had gone down between Lane and McGuire, who he was now calling alongside.