As an AFL fan growing up in Queensland, Finn Blake realised Victoria was the place to be. And a fortuitous meeting in his hometown of Noosa set the wheels in motion for a move to Melbourne and a career in sports media.
I was born on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria but only lived there for a short time, so most people know me as being from Noosa, Queensland. A good portion of people who I’ve met in Melbourne have spent some time in Noosa, so it’s nice to hear of all the positive experiences that people have had on holidays up there. After all, it’s considered ‘the most northern suburb of Melbourne’ to some. The holiday town of Noosa is a really interesting place to grow up. I loved spending lots of time on the beach, and I certainly have very fond memories.
Growing up in a football family, I felt as though my connection to the sport always allowed me to keep a connection to Melbourne. I have a huge passion for football. While my schoolmates would be playing rugby, I would always be in the backyard kicking the footy with my dad.
I suppose the story that most people know about me is the one that landed me in Melbourne. I spent my weekends during high school working at Betty’s Burgers on Hastings Street (in Noosa). As an avid Collingwood fan in a rugby-centric state, I would always look forward to holiday times when I could discuss footy with the tourists from Melbourne.
One day a gentleman wearing a Carlton cap walked past the restaurant and piqued my interest. I caught his attention and we began discussing our hatred for each other's football teams. He wanted to help me out, as I’d mentioned to him that my dream was to work in the AFL media industry. He kindly passed on a contact at a company in Melbourne, which resulted in a meeting just a month later, while I was halfway through Year 12. The meeting went well, although I realised I had a lot of work to do before I was able to even think about moving to Melbourne. Fast forward six months to January, and I’d enrolled in tertiary study in Queensland. However, the same contact from Melbourne was on holidays in Noosa at that time. He invited me to breakfast with his family and offered me an opportunity to work at his company. Two weeks later, I had my bags packed and was on a plane to Melbourne, ready to work at McGuire Media, then a year later I started uni and joined the close-knit community on campus at Trinity College, where I'd meet some of my closest friends and extend my network even further.
I always wanted to be involved with the sport – AFL – that I’d grown up having so much passion for. Once I realised I wasn’t talented enough to run out onto the MCG in a Collingwood guernsey, I knew I wanted to be part of the industry in some way. Being in the media has provided me with the opportunity to connect to the sport in a way that I always wanted to. I have been privileged to be able to work on broadcasts that have been seen by millions of people. The people at McGuire Media have become such a large part of my life. It was rather daunting walking into an office at the age of 17 surrounded by so many accomplished and experienced people. However, these people were so willing to spend time with me and teach me about the industry. I suppose this is a testament to the family environment that has been created at the company.
It’s been a period of growth since my return to Melbourne and that’s testament to the people who have guided me through my professional career so far. I look forward to continuing my media work, as well as integrating business into what I do. I want to continue developing my media skills so that one day I’m able to host my own show. I want to grow as a business professional and continue to stake out opportunities in a field that combines business, media and sport.
Since undertaking studies at the University of Melbourne and living at Trinity College, I have learned that life is all about a balance. It has been a great challenge to strike a balance between my professional career, university studies and college life at Trinity. In many ways, I believe that they all complement each other in terms of allowing me to develop and mature. Trinity has motivated me to get the most out of all aspects of my life, as the College provides me with the academic support, pastoral care and sporting opportunities that I need.
As told to Ian Coyukiat