Sam Newman's Footy Show performance baffles panel

SAM Newman stunned viewers and left his fellow Footy Show panellists baffled during a bizarre appearance on the long-running show on Thursday night.

The TV veteran appeared to be attempting to send a message by refusing to engage in conversation or bring his usual colourful edge to the program.

Sam Newman gives the finger on the Footy Show
Sam Newman gives the finger on the Footy Show

The trainwreck began from the opening moments of the show as Newman was introduced but sat down without barely saying a word.

"Cat got your tongue tonight has it?" host Craig Hutchison immediately asked.

"No, get on with it," Newman replied.


Comedian David Hughes started trying to engage the former Geelong star, who typically offers his opinion on the big football topics of the week.

There hasn't been a bigger story than the resignations of AFL football operations boss Simon Lethlean and general manager of commercial Richard Simkiss after the pair conducted inappropriate relationships with fellow employees.

But Newman - perhaps, many viewers speculated, under advice from his producers - wouldn't go near the issue.

"Sam's a bit flat because there's a couple of jobs at the AFL and you think you should get one of them - is that right?" Hughes said.

"If you think I'm giving an opinion about the AFL ..." Newman said. "In case I say something controversial."

"They've cancelled Bonk Your Colleague Round apparently," Hughes persisted.

Newman just shook his head. "It's best you don't comment on that," co-host Rebecca Maddern said.

It was all downhill from there. Asked his thoughts on whether former Footy Show host Eddie McGuire should step down as Collingwood president, Newman again protested.

"Well now, it can be controversial if you make comments on this," he said. "You can be taken aside and spoken to if you step over some imaginary line in the sand. I don't think I'd like to make a comment on any of that."

Newman was also captured raising his middle finger to a member of the audience.

Richmond star Alex Rance, who appeared on the show via a cross, suggested Newman was frustrated at being restricted.

"It was strange to not hear him have as much to say and be his humorous self,'' Rance told SEN on Friday morning.

"I have got to know him a bit better and probably more on a personal level than just what you see on screen.

"It's definitely a persona he puts on and puts out there and I think it's what made him so humorous and loveable in the early days was his lack of political correctness if you will, but now I think there's been a couple of things he's said which have been cracked down upon and maybe he feels the tide's changing a bit and he can't be himself as much as he was before."

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford this morning made the explosive claim Newman's behaviour came because he is "aware of plans to axe him".

"Sam is of the belief that there are rumblings he will be axed at the end of the year," Ford told 3AW on Friday morning.

"You can write the story every year, but this time I think it's for real."

"He is of the opinion they are trying to rein him in more and more, and he just just doesn't want to play that game. He wants to beat to his own drum," Ford added.

"He doesn't want to be there working at half-speed."

News Corp Australia

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