The once-proud Broncos lost a record 11 games in a row this season, and then lost coach Anthony Siebold. While Queensland was handling COVID-19 well enough to attract other major sporting fixtures, including the AFL grand final for the first time, Brisbane’s best-known team could only win the wooden spoon in the NRL competition. It was a dark period for Broncos fans, in an even darker year overall.
Normally, the club would send fans a traditional Christmas greeting, but it didn’t seem to be the time for that. A country song about a cowboy’s heartache might have been more appropriate, had the North Queensland Cowboys not beaten the Broncos in the last game of the season.
Ultimately, what the club came up with was a little bit country, in the jaunty style of Johnny Cash, and recognisably Queensland, given one of the people responsible had previously produced Fourex jingles.
The lyrics don’t shy away from the mistakes of 2020, and urge fans to look to the future and one man, incoming coach and Broncos legend Kevin Walters, who is expected to deliver more than Santa Claus.
“Next year we’ve got Kevvie”.
To produce the song, the off-field team at the Broncos called on Ross Batton from Rosco Audio, who discussed the challenging brief and brought in Brisbane copyrighter and adman Shane Murray.
“He’s an avid football supporter and a bit of a Broncos nut but truthfully more of a Cowboys fan,” Batton said.
“He’s also one of those people who can’t lie, so that seemed appropriate. How would you describe him? Maybe an Aussie larrikin, but he has a brilliant advertising brain. He was perfect for this.”
According to Batton, Shane was quick to acknowledge “there’s a big elephant in the corner of the room here and there’s no point trying to hide it or you’ll get called on it. The Broncos had a bugger of a year”.
The third member of the song-writing front row was Garry Smith.
“Garry has been in the game for 45 years and he has done all of the classic Fourex jingles from the ’80s, if you’ve heard it he’s probably the man behind it,” Batton said.
By the time it came to recording the song, they would have to use Garry’s studio because Batton’s premises didn’t have enough room to film inside. The Christmas message had by now become a song of 1 minute and 38 seconds – complete with a film clip.
Some of Batton’s commercial clients shy away from the Johnny Cash style of song, believing it to be dated. But he felt there was no better way to end a year than a song around a campfire, drawing on whatever emotion you have left.
“Next year we’ve got Kevvie, next year we’ve got Kevvie, so grab your jersey and your flag and get your war paint ready.
“Then at Christmas time, throw in a line, and grab yourself a bevvy.
“And have no doubt we’ll sort things out ’cause next year we’ve got Kevvie.”
Batton acknowledged a degree of sentimentality in Queensland rugby league circles about calling on former greats – such as Allan Langer, and Kevvie in the State of Origin – to help out in a crisis.
“We’ve done this before, we’ve gone and got our greats and stood them in front of the people and said ‘we need this to work’ and that’s why Kevvie is there,” Batton said.
“That’s why the song is about Kevvie.”
Not since Kevin Rudd took over the federal Labor leadership has a Kevin from Queensland been under so much pressure. To his credit, Walters didn’t object to the song, but he didn’t necessarily approve either, instead only asking for a copy. The Broncos leadership and board also approved. As for fans, the response has been mixed, with diehards seemingly loving the upbeat tone and critics wanting to see some wins on the board first.Jump to next article