Ray Warren speaks out over 'confusing' Bruce McAvaney comments

Ray Warren and Bruce McAvaney are pictured side by side.
Ray Warren says he was caught off-guard after Bruce McAvaney paid tribute to him when he was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame. Pictures: Getty Images

Rugby league legend Ray Warren has admitted he was left 'confused' by fellow commentary great Bruce McAvaney's kind words about him at the Logie awards earlier this year.

Warren announced his retirement from NRL commentary earlier this year, bringing an end to an unforgettable 55-year career calling ruby league, with his voice the soundtrack to a countless memorable moments.

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The sporting world paid tribute to Warren after his announcement, and McAvaney made a surprise mention of the impact Warren had on his own craft in his acceptance speech when he was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame.

McAvaney said Warren's work had 'impressed and inspired' him throughout his own lengthy career behind the microphone, where he was most well known for his work with the AFL, horse racing and the Olympics.

His words came as a surprise to Warren, who was informed McAvaney would be appearing in an upcoming documentary of his career to be aired on Channel 9, titled Ray Warren: Calling Time.

In his interview with 2GB, Warren said he'd been confused by the praise from McAvaney considering the pair had little to do with one another throughout their respective careers.

Recalling their first, very brief meeting when Warren was recruited by Channel 10 to call Oaks day races in South Australia, the league great was nevertheless flattered by the praise.

“(The relationship with Bruce) is not very deep, to be honest with you,” Warren said.

“I went to South Australia to call South Australian Oaks race meeting. There was a young bloke in the box next door to me, I was doing it for the 10 network … and I didn‘t get a chance to talk to him much at all.

“And then I don‘t know that I crossed paths with him again until the London Olympics, so there’s a lot of time in between those two events, so to say that I knew him really well would be an absolute lie.

“And then when he was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame just recently, I nearly fell out of my chair when he included me with three others as being one of his mentors.

And by that, obviously, he took something that I was giving him, but unbeknownst to me, I was.

“It‘s a bit confusing, but I didn’t know he was on the (documentary), to be honest with you. I told you I haven’t seen it. I didn’t know Bruce was on it.”

Ray Warren surprised by tribute after commentary retirement

The 79-year-old announced he would be retiring earlier in 2022, thanking the many people involved in supporting his career for the 'privilege' of a life spent in the commentary box.

“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, 79, 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.”

The upcoming NRL grand final between Penrith and Parramatta will be the first decider not to be accompanied by Warren's voice in decades.

Matt Thompson stepped in for the commentary great during the State of Origin series earlier this year.

Ray Warren is pictured after being inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame.
Ray Warren was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame back in 2019 in recognition of his outstanding commentary career. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, four-time Parramatta champion Ray Price insists the Eels will win the NRL grand final and will not be overawed by their 36-year premiership drought.

Price retired in 1986 after winning his fourth premiership in six years with the Eels.

He said he had been heartened by the current team's approach to the task at hand, as well as their form ahead of Sunday's decider against Penrith.

"These players have the chance to put Parramatta back on the map and I believe they can," Price told AAP.

"It has been 36 years and I am sick of it. I don't want the pressure anymore. I just want to enjoy watching them play and win.

"Junior Paulo is exactly right in his approach. This is their chapter that they are writing - and that is the motivation they are using to win.

"I love Paulo. Isaiah Papali'i is great in the second-row. Lock (Ryan) Matterson is playing exceptionally well.

"We have the best forward pack and we have a half (Mitchell Moses) and five-eighth (Dylan Brown) who when they run the ball are as good as any.

"These blokes know where they have come from and where they are going. I believe in them. They will win because they will wear Penrith down."

With AAP

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