WARF Radio: Kicking goals for women’s footy


Less than a month out from the start of this year’s AFLW season, Peter Holden has reason to feel proud.

Holden is the founder of Women’s Australian Rules Football Radio (WARF Radio), a 100% volunteer production, dedicated to the promotion of women’s Aussie Rules and creating a pathway for those seeking a career in sports media.

And he’s stoked to see people he has trained and called alongside making their mark on the industry.

WARF Radio at Olympic Park Oval, Melbourne, in 2021. From left to right: Peter Holden, Penny Cula-Reid, Lauren Bordin and Bonnie Toogood 


As Holden tells Radio Today, it’s a pretty impressive roll call:

Matthew Cocks doing early mornings and calling AFL games for SEN like a complete natural. Lauren Bordin, a regular fixture on ABC Sport’s AFL and AFLW live coverage.”

Paul Sebastiani on SEN Overnights, Julia Montesano commentating FIBA Women’s World and Asian Cup basketball matches, Lucy Watkin co-hosting podcasts and calling VFLW games for the AFL website, Anna Harrington, who was previously on Fox Sports, and Jo Wotton who did a handful of games with us, heard calling AFLW on SEN and Channel 7.”

WARF Radio at Melbourne University’s Main Oval interviewing Hawthorn VFLW coach Patrick Hill. From second left to right: Matthew Cocks, Lucy Watkin, Sasha Dougherty and Lisa Roper 


Just like broadcast veterans Eddie McGuire and Francis Leach, Holden is a ‘Broady’ boy, having spent the majority of his school years at Broadmeadows, just north of Melbourne.

From a very young age, a career in sports media beckoned, as he commentated games to himself in his childhood backyard, conjuring up imaginary sports leagues and radio stations.

Things went off the rails a bit in 1996.

“My grandmother – whom I was very close to – passed away at just 59, and that knocked me around a bit,” says Holden.

“I became very disinterested in school, going from what would have been an A+ average the year before to leaving school all together after Year 9.”

“I started hanging around nearby community radio station 98.9 North West FM. I did the radio presenter’s course at age 15 and then started hosting a local footy show that year.”

Having that experience on his CV caught the eye of Holden’s first full-time employer, Forges of Footscray.

It turned out that the store manager worked as a cycling commentator on the weekends.

“After hearing me on the in-store microphone spruiking the bargains, he roped me into commentating cycling at the Northcote Velodrome for a couple of summers,” Holden remembers.

But cycling didn’t hold the same kind of appeal as Aussie Rules and, having well and truly caught the commentary bug, Holden would go on to call suburban footy games.

Peter Holden hosting 4HI Miners Overnight, Emerald, Queensland, 2007


In 2013, Holden was working as a play-by-play VFL caller for Melbourne community station 3WBC when he got a call out of the blue from AFL Victoria.

“They were looking for some callers to do the VWFL All-Stars versus the Australian Defence Force women’s ANZAC Day eve match.”

“I had about 24 hours’ notice and went looking for any research on women’s footy that I could absorb in the space of a few hours.”

Identifying an opportunity, Holden joined forces with fellow footy caller Daniel Hill to pitch a new concept, and WARF Radio – as it now known today – was born.

“Our original pitch (as just a two man call team) to AFL Victoria was that we wanted to give online radio coverage to the competition and be seen as the commentary experts in the women’s footy space.”

Peter Holden and Daniel Hill, interviewing a Seaford player. RF Miles Reserve, Seaford, 2014.


Holden’s own radio journey has taken him to some far flung places, including the Queensland outback.

His first commercial gig was with 4VL Charleville.

“Somehow there, they learnt that I called Aussie Rules, and the Station Manager Damien Fisher roped me into calling the local Rugby League!”

At one point, Holden was even asked to call camel races.

Then were some hilarious – albeit challenging -commentary moments.

“Like in Quilpie where you call out in the open on the sidelines with just a trestle table, almost getting blown over several times one game, having to call as a sandstorm passed through!”

Holden remembers one player’s conversion attempt got blown so far sideways, the ball ended up in the club bar.

“Then at Cunnamulla, where we had to set-up a temporary microwave link between the ground and the transmitter site a few kilometres away, we had brought along nothing to keep weight on the speaker stand which the link antenna was screwed to.”

“So, myself and future 2GB employee Richard Palmer had to use dried up cow pats for some type of weight!”

Peter Holden, Max Blake and Kristy Williams interviewing Diamond Creek (and later Carlton AFLW) footballer, Shae Audley.


It is in the commentary space that Holden has discovered his true passion and continues to reap the rewards.

A personal highlight was receiving official recognition from the powers-that-be at AFL headquarters.

“Last year I got a letter from soon-to-be AFL CEO Andrew Dillon congratulating me on calling (and/or producing) 300 games of women’s Aussie Rules,” he says.

Holden says the thing he enjoys most about his AFLW involvement is the ‘community’ aspect.

“The AFLW (and VFLW) competitions bring people back to the old suburban grounds, each with their own little quirks.”

Holden says the AFLW/VFLW players themselves add to that community feel.

“They want to stay at the ground well after the final siren. They want to meet and feel connected to the fans.”

“If you do your research properly, looking beyond the AFLW level and asking detailed questions, you’d be amazed at the quality content you get.”

“To be a commentator with WARF Radio, it’s not just about you wanting to improve your skills and using us as a leg up to the next level.”

Holden says it’s about having a genuine interest in women’s footy.

“Those who consume women’s sport can easily tell who has a passion for what they are commentating, and those who are just ‘dialling it in.’”

More info on WARF Radio here.

*Photos supplied

Comment Form

Your email address will not be published.

Recent comments (0)
Post new comment


See all