There are many ways to measure success – in rugby league and broadcasting. Maybe even life.
For the player, it’s premierships, Origin victories and Dally Ms. For the broadcaster, it’s likely to be Logies, Hall of Fame inductions or, mostly, longevity.
Then there’s having a tech-house banger featuring some of your greatest commentary made in your honour.
On that score, doyen caller Ray Warren is now in rare company. Actually, he’s probably on his own.
Rabs featuring Ray “Rabs” Warren, produced by Sydney electronic artist Roy Bing, with an alluring music video starring dancer Jordan Charles Herbert, will be released on Friday.
Rugby league commentator Ray Warren, musician Roy Bing and dancer Jordan Charles Herbert.Credit:NRL Photos, Instagram
It’s exactly what the world needs in these uncertain COVID-infested times. Queensland drops the ball. Rabs just drops the beat.
“I had made this bass-line, which I had looping in my headphones,” Bing explained. “For some reason, I went on YouTube – with the loop still playing – and opened a video of ‘State of Origin Highlights’ that I was watching the night before. Suddenly, two worlds collided. I heard Rabs’ voice singing over the bass-line – and it blew my mind. I love tech-house beats, and I also love Rabs, so it felt like the right thing to do to put them together.”
One of the most memorable calls featured comes from the Origin decider in 2002 when Maroons enforcer Gorden Tallis tossed Blues fullback Brett Hodgson over the sideline like he was a piece of trash.
Hodgson lassoed by Tallis! Look at Tallis! Look at Tallis! Look at Tallis! Look at Tallis! Look at Tallis! HE DRAGS HIM!
If that doesn’t make you want to drink a dozen Red Bull and vodkas and hit the clubs, what will?
Other players featured include Sam Thaiday, Danny Buderus, Andrew Johns, Greg Inglis and Johnathan Thurston.
Warren agreed to the song after Bing approached his manager and son, Mark Warren.
“I admire the enthusiasm, passion, and dedication of artist Roy Bing and Mark Warren,” the great Rabs said. “I will not be dancing and there will be no party but maybe you might have a boogie. I hope you enjoy Rabs.”
Mark Warren added: “Roy Bing is a tremendously talented artist. Rabs showcases much of Dad’s work and his idiosyncrasies. When people I respect like David Gyngell tell me this music will showcase his work to new audiences and new demographics, it was a yes from me and the hard work began. He is the GOAT. There can only be one! Hoping you guys send Rabs to No.1 on the charts.”
At 78 years young, Warren remains the best caller in the business. He makes the game better.
He called the first two State of Origins a treat and the interstate matches will sound very different without him when he finally decides to hang up his weathered old set of binoculars.
It will be his 99th Origin when calls game three on July 14. The big question is whether it’ll be his last.
He’s a year-to-year proposition with Nine, and he constantly talks of this year being his last, but it would be a tragedy in the dead-set fair dinkum department if he doesn’t crack the ton next year.
In the meantime, let’s all savour his commentary, not least via this tech-house masterpiece.
Now all we need is a godforsaken nightclub to open so we can dance to it. Or watch others dance to it.
Oh somebody stop him! He’ll run out of Ivy!
It’s funny how sportspeople become known for broken parts of their anatomy. Ricky Stuart’s groin. Andrew Johns’ knee. Laurie Daley’s hamstrings. Bryan Fletcher’s eyelash.
For the rest of this season, Nathan Cleary’s shoulder will be talked about like it’s a person.
Every tackle, every run at the line, every kick with defenders chasing him down trying to put him on his backside, will be viewed in the context of his shoulder.
A few weeks ago, on SEN, Johns was asked if the premiership was a race in two: Penrith and Melbourne.
“If Nathan’s injured on the eve of the finals, the Panthers can’t win,” he said.
Those with long memories have already drawn comparisons between Cleary’s injury and what happened to Stuart two weeks before the finals series in 1993.
Stuart and the Raiders were flying that year and looked certain to play the Broncos in the grand final.
That Canberra side, with the likes of Stuart, Meninga, Clyde, Daley, Belcher, Pongia and others, is still considered one of the best club teams ever assembled.
Then Stuart broke his leg in the second-last round against Parramatta. The Raiders didn’t win another match as the Broncos went back-to-back.
Penrith haven’t given up hope of Cleary playing again this year. He’s been given a month off to rehab and get himself right for the finals.
But it will be a similar ask of this Panthers side as it was for Canberra if they lose their chief playmaker.
What a tragic state of affairs it was on Sunday morning when Ronaldo Mulitalo was ruled out of the Queensland side on the morning of Origin II.
The NRL’s Department of Spin has been doing its best to ensure head office isn’t to blame, putting out the line that Mulitalo indicated on two of his earliest contracts that he hadn’t arrived in Australia before his 13th birthday, meaning he was ineligible to play State of Origin.
On three contracts signed since then, he has apparently indicated he was available.
If Mulitalo has changed his mind – innocently or not, coerced or otherwise – it’s hard to argue for his inclusion in the Maroons squad.
Either way, surely both the QRL and NRL should’ve picked up on this earlier than 12 hours before he was due to make his Origin debut.
Instead, the discrepancy was picked up by the Twittersphere, which alerted rugby league reporters to a story on the QRL website that highlighted Mulitalo had moved to Australia from New Zealand when he was 13 years and 11 months old.
He’s been allowed to play under 16s, 18s and 20s for Queensland, yet nobody checked his status. It’s a flimsy system for a professional sport if it relies on a teenager ticking boxes and people on social media to find discrepancies.
There’s been calls for an overhaul of the Origin eligibility rules, which is hasty because they were last overhauled in 2012.
Andrew Hill oversaw a committee that included members of both the QRL and NSWRL, as well as Wayne Bennett and the late Bob Fulton. The current criteria was introduced to avoid a repeat of the Greg Inglis situation.
The three questions about whether you could play Origin were clear: were you born in NSW or Queensland? If not, have you resided in NSW or Queensland prior to you 13th birthday? If not, did your father player Origin?
Green’s new deal
I have two favourite sayings about the relationship between athletes and reporters, which I found in a scrapbook belonging to Jack Gibson.
The first: “Nobody ever lost a game sitting in the press box”. The second: “You want better stories? Win more games”.
Then there’s the method of Golden State Warriors star and three-time NBA champion Draymond Green when it comes to handling criticism, as he explained in a round-table discussion on HBO this week, sitting alongside Tom Brady.
“People say, ‘Draymond you should shoot!’,” Green said. “But if I can get Steph Curry the ball for a f—ing shot, why would I shoot?! You’re actually a f—ing idiot for thinking I should shoot, because I can get him the shot and if he’s half open, it’s better than anyone else in the world – if he’s half open!”
“He’s done himself a mischief.” – Wimbledon commentator Andrew Cotter channels his inner Chopper Read after Andy Murray slapped his thigh in frustration during his second-round victory in five sets against Oscar Otte.
Finally, the NSWRU has pulled the right rein, appointing Shute Shield legend Darren Coleman as Waratahs coach. Currently coaching the LA Giltinis, he’s been auditioning for this role for years. The rugby community should get behind him.
Surely the best thing for Ben Simmons to do following the car crash of the NBA playoffs was to represent the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics. Instead, he’s staying in the US to work on his jump shot. Doesn’t sound selfish at all.
It’s a big weekend for …
The slippery green grass of Wimbledon, which is taking a beating this week, accused of hurting knees, ankles, hearts, ending careers. The Grass has so far refused all requests for interview.
It’s an even bigger weekend for …
England, who are now favourites to win their first major title since the 1966 World Cup after beating Germany at Euro 2020 earlier in the week. They play Ukraine in the quarter-finals on Sunday morning (AEST).
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