Ray Warren, the voice of rugby league, won’t be hanging up his 44-year-old binoculars anytime soon.
Ray Warren, the voice of rugby league, won’t be hanging up his 44-year-old binoculars anytime soon with Channel Nine confirming he will call again this year.
Warren, 77, met with Nine sports bosses on Monday and the network confirmed to the Herald that Warren will continue calling the NRL this season.
The decision ends months of speculation about his future. Many had figured the 2020 season would be his last — including the man himself.
Indeed, he walked out of Nine’s old studios on Willoughby after calling State of Origin III off a TV screen believing he’d just called for the last time.
“When I walked away after that Origin, I thought that was it,” Warren told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Then I thought, ‘Hang on, I’d done something I’d never do before: calling off the tube. I’d never contemplated not being at the event, in times gone by, but that was the reality of calling last year. I was ready to pull the pin on everything last year but when I thought about it that wasn’t the type of season I’d like to go out on.”
Warren is an icon of sports broadcasting.
He called his first game of rugby league in 1966 — a Maher Cup match between West Wyalong and Barmedman — and since then has become the booming voice of rugby league.
Like a champion player, Warren has always said he never wants to go a season too long and trusts those around him to tell him when it’s time to retire.
Nine has slowly cut back his workload in recent years but still want him for the headline matches such as finals and State of Origin.
That was never more evident than late last year when Nine was desperate to get him into Queensland for the deciding Origin at Suncorp Stadium.
A notoriously nervous flyer, Warren wasn’t prepared to take a small charter flight to satisfy COVID-19 restrictions.
Then Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk closed the border and Warren was forced to call the match in the studio.
It was the first match since 1981 when he hasn’t required his iconic binoculars he bought from a pawn shop in Parramatta when he was also calling the Melbourne Cup for Channel Ten.
“They’re shedding their skin like a snake sheds its skin, that’s how old they are,” Warren quipped. “I can assure you I didn’t need them when I was calling off the tube. That’s when I will have to give it away.”