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  • Writer's pictureAntonis Pagonis

The Local Game: South Australia's new weekly football show

South Australia will welcome its first weekly football TV show in over a decade when 'The Local Game' premieres tomorrow night. Front Page Football recently spoke to its creator, Johnny 'Keko' Parini, about its launch.

Front Page Football The Local Game South Australian Football

The Local Game will cover all things South Australian football on a weekly basis.


Every football fan has a different story to tell when asked how they got into the sport. For Johnny 'Keko' Parini, it was a free ticket to Adelaide United's match against Melbourne Victory in the first A-League season.


Keko's brother was offered a ticket by his cousin, but when he could not make the game, the ticket was passed on to him. After attending the game, Keko fell in love with the sport. He admits it was a night that "changed my life for the better" but, despite that, it remained challenging to stay engaged with the sport.


"Back in the early days, I didn't have Foxtel and wasn't even a member of the club yet, so I used to listen to community radio when I could and then check the scores on Teletext on Monday. I would also watch SBS's The World Game with the great Les Murray to get my football fix. Football back then wasn't easy to get the news, and even the coverage is not the same when compared to other sports in this country."

Since Keko began his media journey seven years ago, he has tried to provide the community with what he wished was available for him as a child when he got into football. He identified an even more significant lack of coverage in local football, where he has since invested his time and effort.


Keko runs the podcast 'Kickin' It Local', which aims to tell the story of different personalities in the local South Australian football scene, while he also commentates on matches weekly and hosts events for several local clubs.


In 2024, Keko has taken a big stride forward, ticking off his ambition of returning a weekly football show to the screens of local fans. The last local South Australian football show to broadcast weekly was 'Full On Football', which was on screens between 2006 and 2009. Keko admits it serves as an inspiration.

Front Page Football Full On Football South Australia

'Full On Football' covered South Australian football for three years in the late 2000s. (Image: Full On Football YouTube)


'The Local Game' is Keko's answer to the lack of a consistent broadcast show that covers the local leagues. It goes live on the Keko Media YouTube page tomorrow night at 6pm ACDT, with a replay on local Adelaide TV station Channel 44 on Friday at the same time, with the Thursday-Friday combo remaining a weekly schedule. The first show is a nod to the past, with Keko welcoming 'Full On Football' host Nat (Adamopoulos) Harrison.


The show will cover the Men's and Women's NPL and State Leagues in South Australia, highlighting key moments, breaking down major stories, and providing a platform for different voices within the local football community.

 

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Keko aims to create a relaxed, fun atmosphere for the whole family to watch and enjoy the show. Speaking to Front Page Football, he reflected on how his childhood shaped this goal.


"I remember as a kid that every Thursday night my family would sit down and watch The Footy Show together - even though I didn't follow the league as closely as my brothers, I enjoyed it just as much because it had a great mix of insights, news, and laughs. To some extent, I have similar intentions with this show, but with a vastly different budget!"
Front Page Football Johnny Keko Parini The Local Game Kickin' It Local

Johnny 'Keko' Parini debuts his new show tomorrow night.


While Keko has had great success sharing the stories of over 60 South Australian football personalities through his 'Kickin' It Local' podcast, he believes a visual show will help him reach his full creative potential.


Piecing together a TV show from scratch can be challenging. For Keko, it has been creating a run sheet that adequately covers five leagues while also including other segments and keeping it to 30 minutes that has challenged him the most. After completing his first version of the run sheet in early November, Keko has settled on his eighth iteration for his first show.


While it has been a challenging journey, Keko shared that he has thoroughly enjoyed using his creativity to plan and execute segments for the show.


"I've enjoyed editing together a pre-recorded segment where viewers will get to see a different side of their favourite players with the content I have filmed at the Football SA Media Day for the Players," he said.


"The segment is going to be called 'Kickin' It with the Players', and you'll get to see a different side of these players and hopefully have a laugh or two some weeks as well. This part of the show is one of the many ways that 'The Local Game' and 'Kickin' It Local' intertwine and that, for me, is making it all the more exciting and fun."

Reflecting on how his love of football began, Keko understands the importance of coverage for the game, and he hopes to expose more people to the local game's unique aspects and community feeling.


"If this show encourages just one person to head to a game, consider my goal reached but not done. This game deserves more exposure and promotion; it's a brilliant community to be a part of," he shared.


"Learning from my experience, it only takes that one game or conversation to get the ball rolling and for the passion to ignite."

While Keko has been buoyed by the reception his idea has received from various members of the local football community, he is keen to go live and continue doing what he has enjoyed doing the past few years: providing a voice for the South Australian football community.


Subscribe and follow 'The Local Game' on YouTube and Instagram to keep up with Johnny Keko's coverage of South Australian football.



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