Ray Warren announces retirement from commentary after 55 years

·6-min read
Pictured here, Ray Warren during commentary duties for Channel Nine.
Ray Warren has called his last game of rugby league in Australia after news of his retirement was confirmed. Pic: Getty

The rugby league community is celebrating the career of Ray Warren after confirmation the veteran commentator has called his last game of footy.

Regarded as the 'voice of rugby league in Australia', the 78-year-old has finally decided to hang up the microphone, having previously come close to retiring in the past.

HUGE: Brad Fittler in line for Bulldogs job after Phil Gould admission

'IT GOES A LOT DEEPER': Legend exposes Wests Tigers' grim reality

It's understood Warren had been in recent discussions with Nine sports boss Brent Williams, and made the decision over the last week.

However, Nine did not confirm the legendary caller's retirement until Wednesday.

“After talking with my family and calling rugby league and other sports for 55 years, I have decided my time in the commentary box is over,” Warren said in a statement.

“I will miss calling immensely but I think it’s time to move on with my 80th birthday only 12 months away.

“I really want to thank everybody so much. All my workmates at Channel 9, Channel 10, Radio 2GB and where I got my start at Radio 2LF in Young, who each gave a youngster from Junee a chance to turn his dreams, into reality. Hopefully my story will carry some inspiration into the lives of other young kids from the country.

“To the game, the NRL and the players, for giving me the privilege of calling such a great product. And finally the viewers, for allowing me to share a little time in your living rooms since the early 1970s.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14:  Ray Warren poses for a portrait after being inducted into the 2019 NRL Hall of Fame at Carriageworks on August 14, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Ray Warren poses for a portrait after being inducted into the 2019 NRL Hall of Fame at Carriageworks on August 14, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images)

Warren hadn't commentated for Nine since last year's grand final but after weeks of discussions with the network, said he was leaving the job with no regrets.

"I had nothing to prove," Warren told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's been easy leaving the commentary box, but each time I came back I knew I was getting closer to making a making a fool of myself.

"After I called last year's grand final between Penrith and Souths, I walked out feeling like I'd done a good job. I knew after that game it was my last."

With Warren's retirement confirmed, it is expected Nine will turn to Mat Thompson to lead the call for next week's Origin opener in Sydney.

'Rabs' as he was affectionately known to Australians - enjoyed an on-air career that spanned more than five decades.

He was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2019.

NRL fans celebrate Ray Warren's legendary career

“The great Ray Warren is synonymous with Nine and rugby league for fans, players and most of all everyone here at the Wide World of Sports,” Nine Chief Executive Officer Mike Sneesby said in a statement.

“We are so pleased that he will remain an integral part of the team and thank him for his five decades of calling live sport.

“We look forward to his insights, memories, and character in our broadcast next week for Origin I and beyond. He brought the game to life for generations of fans in their loungerooms. You are the voice of rugby league, Rabs. Thank you.”

The bombshell news comes one week before the State of Origin series, with Warren having called 99 matches in the interstate series.

Warren has also called 45 rugby league grand finals, three Melbourne Cups and Australian Olympic swimming races in a decorated career.

Understandably, fans have been left gutted by news of the iconic commentator's retirement.

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting