Why Channel 9 is angry over Peter Sterling, and what he's up to next

Peter Sterling, pictured here on Channel Nine before an NRL game in 2012.
Peter Sterling on Channel Nine before an NRL game in 2012. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Peter Sterling was not pushed and could have stayed on at Channel 9 for as long as he wanted.

The network is disappointed he wants to walk at the end of the season and just as disappointed its myriad news outlets weren't the first to announce it.

Sterling made Nine aware of his plans weeks ago and they were hoping to keep it hush-hush and maybe convince him into changing his mind.

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He's been gagged from saying anything publicly but the premiership-winning Parramatta halfback has had enough, telling those close to him the enjoyment for the job is not what it used to be.

There are a lot more demands on Nine's on-air talent than once was the case since the merge with Fairfax Media. They're out to get as much bang for their buck as possible.

If it was just game day duties, Sterlo may have been convinced to hang around and go into a fourth decade at the station.

But after going straight from the footy field to behind the microphone in 1992, the 61-year-old wants a break to spend more time at home and work on his golf game.

Peter Sterling and Phil Gould, pictured here in commentary for Channel Nine in 2008.
Peter Sterling and Phil Gould in commentary for Channel Nine in 2008. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The good news is his sharp and analytical rugby league brain won’t be lost to the game completely.

Sterling will stay involved through his involvement with Triple M radio, while there are whispers Sydney all-sports station SEN might have a crack at his services.

SEN already has a tribe of rugby league talent on its books, including the Johns brothers, Bryan Fletcher, Joel Caine and Fox caller Andrew Voss.

Sterling would be a perfect fit.

He is one of those rare rugby league beasts in he doesn't attract the level of vitriol directed at some of his media colleagues.

Slot the names Gus Gould, Braith Anasta, Mick Ennis, Fatty Vautin, Paul Gallen, Blocker Roach, Andrew Voss into your Twitter search and reach for your flak jacket.

It's incredible how worked up fans get over callers and pundits.

Sterling has managed to sidestep most of that, rightfully earning a reputation as a balanced analyst who enjoys the respect of all in the game.

No wonder Channel 9 is gutted to lose him.

Sharks all at sea

Cronulla fans are growing increasingly anxious about just who will partner Nicho Hynes in the halves next year.

Matt Moylan is the obvious option but there’s a big question over his durability.

Moylan is still sidelined with a calf injury that has kept him out since round 15. The injury-prone playmaker has managed just 31 games in the past three seasons.

A brand new halves combination needs time together and Hynes might not get that luxury with a week-to-week proposition like Moylan.

Incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon will also consider Braydon Trindall and Connor Tracey but neither has been overly impressive in the 6 and 7.

Luke Brooks' name continues to be mentioned as a possible No.7.

Storm brewing

Melbourne's mindset is to concentrate on who is playing, not who's out.

So they didn't dwell on the fact key forwards Felise Kaufusi, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tui Kamikamica were all missing from the team that beat Manly on Saturday night.

The Sea Eagles are rightfully earning plenty of praise for pushing the premiers all the way, but the Storm will be even stronger with those three blokes back.

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