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:
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.
We’ve seen a host of successful companies started by NRL/ Former NRL players over the past decade.
Brands like The Man Shake, YKTR and Bloke In A Bar are just some of the businesses that have gone mainstream.
It has shown us that guys like Adam McDougall, Denan Kemp and Corey Norman/ Isaac John/James Segeyaro can really innovate and start successful entities.
But we already know of those businesses, I want to talk about what players might look at these guys and think “I can do what they are doing with my knowledge of Chakra Realignment Vitamins”.
Here is my Top 5 most likely current players to become voodoo magic salesmen:
5. Suliasi Vunivalu – Word on the street is once you purchase vitamins off Suli, he will personally come to your house and knee them into your mouth.
Probably one of the most annoying blokes on the footy field and I can only guess he will be one of the most annoying off.
He seems like the kind of bloke to send you an unprovoked message on your birthday wishing you to have a great day and then segway that into a pitch about his ‘new revolutionary medicine’.
There’s plenty of blokes that I hate more than Suli in the current Storm team but with his high percentage of brain explosion, it was too hard to leave him off this list.
4. Kodi Nikorima – I don’t really have anything negative to say about Kodi’s personality like I do Suli’s.
The problems I have with Kodi come more with the fact he is a glorified bench utility that somehow keeps getting selected for the Kiwis.
It’s more of a vibe but I can just picture Kodi doing some Brad Fittler type relaxation sessions before realigning his chakras.
3. Adam Blair – Wow, Warriors back to back, bet you never thought you would hear that.
I think it’s safe to assume that most blokes that get invested in any of these health and wellness schemes have a bossy misso that wears the pants in the relationship and pressures them to use their connections to ‘help people’.
Now, I can’t say for certain that is the case in the Blair household but I have copped abuse from Adam’s partner for commenting negatively online so I can confirm she won’t be backing down anytime soon.
2. Darius Boyd – If pyramid schemes in retirement were contagious respiratory infections, the Broncos 2015 squad would be the Ruby Princess.
I don’t want to continue to thrash Boyd when he cops it left, right and centre but I couldn’t leave him off this list.
We all remember that brief stint Darius spent as a vegan because he watched a documentary on the benefits.
It seems Darius is willing to try anything suggested to him to get better results and I could see him taking this same mentality into retirement.
If I’m being completely honest, I could see him getting positive placebo effects from magic vitamins.
Boyd seems like a nice enough bloke that he would try and share them with the world for $59.99.
Dylan Walker – Not the brightest bulb in the game and he appears to be an anti-vaxxer so he would seem to fit perfectly into this list.
I just felt he was more of a boxing gym owner or Paul Carter vitamin sales kind of bloke.
Ryan Matterson – We already know Matto is a Kevin Durant level snake so he would definitely not look out of place on this list.
I get the impression Matto will have burnt all his bridges in the NRL by the time he retires anyway so don’t know who he would be able to message.
Danny Levi – Nice bloke just gives off a chakra vibe.
1. Bryce Cartwright – Look this shouldn’t shock anyone after Bryce recently had a ‘bad reaction to the flu shot’ and appears to be falling further down the vaccinations cause Autism rabbit-hole.
The likelihood of Bryce sliding into the DMs of former classmates at Patrician Brothers’ College trying to realign their chakras or selling gift certificates to his wife’s Kinesiology business is significantly higher than him making a big defensive play in a Titans game.
I tried not to make an entire list of anti-vaxxers despite the fact there is a clear connection between anti-vax and chakra beliefs.
But I just couldn’t leave Bryce off this list.
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