Ankletapped: Ranking the top seven NRL Commentators

Fox Sports commentator Warren Smith

Commentators are a controversial topic in the NRL and frankly, all sports across the world.

In the NRL, you have some people who love the commentary style of a vintage voice like Ray Warren.

Then, you have others who prefer the newer more generic sound of someone like Brenton Speed.

I’m here to rank the Top 7 commentators currently in the game whether they be the main callers or just analysts providing their insights.

Here’s my top 7 for 2020:

  1. Warren Smith – Honestly, this was a no brainer.
    In my eyes, Smith is leaps and bounds ahead of all the other main callers in the game and with it being the majority of the sound you hear then he had to take the #1 spot.

    I try to imagine his voice in my head and I can’t do it.

    I try to imagine a time where I have been pissed off at Warren and I can’t do that either.

    I don’t need some bloke hyping me up at home.

    I just want someone to call what is happening with a little bit of intensity and Smith does that to perfection.

    There’s certain commentators whose voice physically hurts you to hear, I don’t want to name names (RAY HADLEY) and Smith never makes me angry when watching.

    There’s arguments to be made about him not being exciting enough or not as iconic.

    Though if he commentated every game on TV, I think the ratings would be leaps and bounds ahead of where they are.

    As a Souths fan, I will never forget Warren yelling “you can take me now I have seen it all” and I’m forever grateful he was on the call for that game.

2. Cooper Cronk – I know Cooper has only really been retired for 2 rounds of Rugby League but this selection is more about what he does during the weeks.

Particularly on Fox League Live during quarantine, where he analysed the plays superbly.

He gives fans great insight while telling good stories of his career and he doesn’t think he is funnier than he is.

If you want to have a laugh, then Cooper probably isn’t for you but when he chooses to joke, it’s organic and not cringe like some commentators.

I honestly think Fox getting Cooper was one of the best decisions they have made in a long time.

3. Peter Sterling – Now I want to talk about one of the worst decisions Fox have made in a long time.

We obviously don’t know what caused Sterlo to return back to Channel 9.

Rumours speculated that it had something to do with a feud he had with Paul Kenet.

Which, if true, Fox made a horrific decision in who they kept and who they decided to let go.

Sterlo is a lot like Cronk in my eyes.

He provides good insight, he can have a laugh every so often but he just provides good quality content.

Sterlo is the only thing about Channel 9 having full coverage of Origin and the Grand Final that I appreciate.

I may cry myself to sleep tonight thinking about when I took Sterlo On The Couch for granted.

4. Matty Johns – I thought it was about time I put someone on the list who tries to really entertain the audience with comedy.

Some people really hate Matty and I can definitely see that but in my opinion he is a perfect mix of jokes and seriousness.

His podcast has provided some of the best in-depth conversations regarding League and all sports.

The episode where he interviewed former EPL player Craig Johnston was one of the more fascinating things I have listened to.

It really just highlights Matty’s ability to really entertain even without resorting to jokes.

Watch his The Session interview with Joey and you’ll see discussions that are really non-existent on television in Rugby League.

5. Andrew Voss – Most people really find Vossy to be very hit or miss, but personally it just depends on what mood I am in.

Also, I think it depends a lot on the type of game Vossy is commentating on.

When there is a lot of time to kill in the broadcast, maybe it is a Thursday night round 22 game between Cowboys and Dogs on a rainy ANZ track, then I find Andrew a bit insufferable.

But if it were a Game III of Origin then there’s not many I would prefer to make the call.

Vossy is a Rugby League icon; I just wish sometimes he would tone it down about ten percent.

6. Greg Alexander – Brandy is another bloke that isn’t gonna get too controversial and is just a likeable guy.

I don’t really remember him saying anything too iconic but I haven’t hated anything he has said and that really takes a lot.

Plus the occasional blowouts in his voice always give me a laugh.

7. Ray Warren – I really didn’t want to put Rabs on my list, there’s too many things I hate about his commentary.

I hate that he rambles on about the most basic things and gets amped over nothing.

I hate that every casual NRL viewer thinks he’s the greatest commentator that has ever lived.

I hate that he mixes up names of players that aren’t close e.g. that time he ruined a great Benji highlight by calling him Chris Heighington the entire time.

But I can’t deny how iconic Rabs is in the game so I had to include him on the list somewhere.

Breakdown – Fox is slaying Channel 9 for the best commentators.

Even if there are a few within their ranks that are completely insufferable.

Channel 9 is marketing towards the oldies and casual fans that don’t really know the difference between the voices.

Hopefully Peter V’landys makes a decision that is universally agreed upon and in the next broadcast deal, we see both 9 and Fox airing all three origins and the GF live.

Follow the writer @ankletapped on Twitter.

Former NRL player now Fox Sports Analyst Cooper Cronk

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