AFL commentator Kane Cornes told he’s media mogul’s ‘mouthpiece’

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Kane Cornes has brushed off a suggestion he is the mouthpiece of footy media mogul Craig Hutchison.

The outspoken AFL pundit on Monday addressed rumours that Hutchison, the boss of Sports Entertainment Group, has influence on what comes out of the Port Adelaide great’s mouth.

Cornes has emerged as one of the loudest voices in footy media and is one of the highest profile stars in the Sports Entertainment Group’s wide network of TV and radio broadcast products.

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Hutchison, who still features as the host of Channel 9’s Footy Classified, has always been one of Cornes’ biggest supporters and has previously been estimated to have a net worth of around $50 million.

It’s why Cornes has at times struggled to shed the tag that Hutchison is the one pulling the strings.

The Footy Show panellist opened up about the “perceptions” when interviewed on Triple M’s Rush Hour this week.

When asked about his trademark brutality when it comes to criticising players and football figures, Cornes responded: “That’s the thing. I’m watching the footy and I react. Something a commentator’s said or a piece of play. That’s what my commentary is designed to do. To get a reaction. Positive or negative and to get people involved.

Kane Cornes responds after being branded millionaire's 'mouthpiece'

“Anyone can ring me on the radio and I’ll have it out. And I love that and I love people having a crack and fighting back. I’m happy to take people’s calls and they can tell me I’m an idiot … I’ll cop it and argue back.”

Footy larrikin and Rush Hour co-host Billy Brownless then chimed in to ask Cornes about Hutchison.

“Do you do everything he says? ‘Do this Kane’, ‘Yes sir, yes sir’,” Brownless asked light-heartedly.

“You’re Hutchy’s little puppet.”

Cornes responded: “That’s the other perception … I can say hand on heart, not once has he ever said to me, ‘I need you to do this’.

“He has said to me, ‘You went too far there and if I was you I would just pull it back a little bit’.

“But he’s never wound me up to tell me to go and say something. It’s all on me. There’s no blame on anyone else but me.”

Brownless also asked Cornes how he feels about his upcoming exhibition boxing fight with fellow Footy Show panellist Nathan Brown — and the lack of support he is expected to get from the crowd.

“Everyone wants me to get my head punched in,” Cornes said.

Brownless responded: “How do you feel about that? Everyone. Everyone. There’s not one person. I think even your old man said, ‘Na, go Nath’.”

In a surprisingly deep interview, Cornes also opened up on how he rose to become one of the highest profile figures in Australian sport.

He said his greatest influence has been his dad Graham Cornes — and watching his father’s own media career which included an all-conquering Adelaide radio show he shared with Ken Cunningham on FIVEaa.

“I don’t go out there to be disliked. I grew up listening to dad and KG. I did a traineeship at 5AA, a station in Adelaide,” Cornes said.

“My old man was quite combative, he was not afraid to be on the other side of the popular view. I watch football and I see things and I’m passionate about it and I say what I think.

“Now do I get it right all the time? Absolutely not. Do I go an extra 20 per cent than I need to? At times yes. And you reflect on that and you say, ‘I was a bit hard there’. You try and learn and do it a different way next time.

“I travel a bit overseas to America and consume a lot of the American sport and they just don’t care what people think about them. And that’s what dad had, he did not care what people thought about him.

“I won’t say I don’t care what people think about me, but I’m better at being able to cope with the criticism and having an opinion and getting the backlash that comes with it.”