Braith Anasta's message to the haters ahead of return on NRL 360

The retired NRL player proved divisive in his role as NRL 360 host in 2022.

Braith Anasta, pictured here on NRL 360.
Braith Anasta is back for his second season on NRL 360. Image: Getty/Fox Sports

Braith Anasta knows one thing for sure. When he comes off air after NRL360's return to Fox Sports on Monday night, the haters will be lining up to give it to him.

"Oh, they’ll be into me. There's always critics out there, no matter how well you think you've gone," he told Yahoo Sport Australia at the Fox League season launch.

"I learnt that when I was a 19 and still playing. I don’t worry about that shit anymore. What can I do about it? Nothing except trying to improve each week."

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That's exactly what Anasta did in 2022. Thrust into hosting duties on NRL360 following Ben Ikin's departure, the veteran of 288 first grade games at first felt like a lion tamer without a whip as he attempted to corral panellists Paul Kent, Phil Rothfield, James Hooper and Paul Crawley.

Braith Anasta, pictured here with his colleagues at the Fox League launch.
Braith Anasta with his colleagues at the Fox League launch. Image: Supplied

"The first month was just getting used to the dynamics and how to handle certain situations," Anasta said. "It's a really strong panel with strong opinions and great passion and you've got to learn when to sit back and when to intervene if it goes off track.

"As the year went on, I felt really comfortable and began to integrate my own opinions and by the end of it I felt really at home. I think I did a decent job and hopefully I can get better as it goes."

Fox Sports boss admits Braith Anasta was a gamble

Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley admits it was a gamble inserting Anasta into the host seat but went with his gut feel. "We've always been strong with women leaders so I started to think I need a strong man around this place and I got one. We really needed a Braith," Crawley explained.

"We took the punt on him on NRL360 after Ben Ikin left and I think – and everyone agrees – he excels at it. I didn't know he'd go as well as he did. He surprised me in a good way. He's a great bloke, he's good company and everyone admires him."

Anasta believes familiarity helps breeds content, not contempt, among viewers. "360 is a good show because people actually get to know you because it's on so often," he said.

"I think I won a few people over and they warmed to me a bit as we went along. You can show your own personality and opinion and while people are not always going to agree with you, they can respect what you’ve got to say. The ratings are good so I guess we must be doing something right."

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