Entertainer & MC

The Gold Coast AFL Grassroots Sports Luncheon will once again feature a line-up of outstanding speakers and sportsmen. The very funny and highly entertaining Des Dowling will be our MC in 2017

Des Dowling – Host & Guest Comedian

Des is one of Australia's most entertaining and versatile stand up comedy performers and is an accomplished corporate MC.

Whether its appearing as a TV presenter, utilising his polished interviewing skills and humor as a corporate MC, or performing a hilarious 30 minute set of stand up comedy, Des delivers a top notch comedy performance every time. Des has headlined at Australia's top comedy clubs. Four years ago, Des appeared at our Grassroots event as a stand up performer. At the time, many people said, "Des who?" At the end of his 30-minute stand up performance, he was "Des the Great" and he had become a Grassroots Legend! Back by popular demand, Des is set to leave his mark as a highly entertaining, and exceptionally amusing MC.

Guest Speaker

Akmal Saleh

Over the past 7 years, the Grassroots Sports luncheon has featured some outstanding stand up comedians. Trevor Marmalade, Des Dowling, Greg Ritchie, Troy Kinne and, last year, Darren Carr. All have all been unbelievable. We haven't had a bad one yet. Now Buckle Up! This year we are delighted to feature the amazing Akmal Saleh. Akmal is one of Australia's most respected, successful and accomplished comics. He displays an incredible ability to deal with hot topics in a hilarious and slightly offensive way. Perfect for Grassroots! Akmal's popularity has increased massively over the last 10 years due to his regular appearances on national television shows such as "Thank God You're Here". As a result Akmal has toured the country with numerous sell out tours including his "Hoot" and "Gullible" tours. Akmal wrote and starred in "All Aussies are Boofta" – a sketch comedy show which enjoyed three successful seasons and critical acclaim. He has appeared at Festivals all around the world including Adelaide Fringe Comedy Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festivals, Montreal 'Just For Laughs' Festival, Vancouver Comedy Festival, New Zealand Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2016, Akmal dropped into the South African jungle with Shane Warne, Brendan Fevola and others for Network Ten's, "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!" Take our tip - Akmal will be a star at Grassroots!

Guests at this year’s Grassroots event are in for a treat!

Sports Panel

Jason Dunstall

One of the games greatest full forwards, Jason Dunstall's fast leading and strong marking made him virtually unbeatable in one-on-one situations. At the beginning of his career he shared the full forward position with another of the game's greats, Leigh Matthews, but by 1986 had established himself as a genuine superstar. Dunstall headed Hawthorn's goalkicking from 1986 to 1996 and kicked over 100 goals in a season on six occasions. He captained the club from 1995 until his retirement in 1998. Dunstall kicked 1254 career goals, placing him third on the all-time list behind only Tony Lockett and Gordon Coventry.

Dunstall was named in Hawthorn’s Team of the Century in 2001 and was inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame in 2005. After his retirement in 1998, Dunstall held the position of interim CEO in 2004 before moving onto the Hawthorn Board where he remained until 2013. It was his stint as CEO at the Hawks which led to his nickname of “The Chief”.

Since retiring from football he has been an in demand media commentator and is a commentator with Triple M and host of Fox Footy’s weekly light hearted and highly amusing Bounce show

Richard Champion

Like Vince Sorrenti, ‘Champs’ has been with Grassroots since its inception. His role as the host of the Sports Panel has been fantastic and he has managed to get the best out of some of the biggest names in the game over the past four years including Robert DiPierdomenico, ‘Spida’Everitt, Kevin Sheedy, Campbell Brown, Jonathan Brown, Dermott Brereton, Malcolm Blight, Doug Hawkins & Rodney Eade.

Champs interview with Brereton and Jonathan Brown was a highlight of the Grassroots event and he is set to have a bunch of entertaining and controversial questions to throw at this year’s panel.