Ray Warren finally responds to lingering rumours of commentary return for State of Origin I

Speculation has been running wild that the commentary legend would be back behind the microphone on Wednesday night.

Ray Warren has rubbished rumours he'll be coming out of retirement to call State of Origin I on Wednesday night to bring up his 100th Origin call. Rumours have been swirling over the last two months that the commentary icon was set to end his retirement so he could chalk up one last Origin call - which would be the 100th of his legendary career.

The 80-year-old officially retired in 2021 after a brilliant career behind the microphone that stretched over 50 years. As well as calling 99 Origin games and 45 first-grade grand finals, Warren also commented on the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and numerous major swimming meets.

Ray Warren with his wife and in the commentary box.
Ray Warren retired from commentating NRL games in 2021, and he has no plans to change that. Image: Getty

But according to the man himself, we won't be hearing his magical voice for the Origin opener on Wednesday night. “It’s absolute scuttlebutt," Warren said on the 'Flan, Ali & Spida' show on Gold Coast’s 92.5 Triple M Gold on Wednesday morning.

“I never ever said that I would agree to do another game of Origin, and somebody took the liberty via social media to absolutely misquote me and it’s made things a bit uncomfortable for me. I get very aggravated by people that write absolute crap.”

Ray Warren in 2014.
Ray Warren looks on before an NRL game in 2014.

Warren sparked speculation in April when he said he was confident he could "get through another game no problem." He said on SEN radio that Origin is "one of the easier games to call because everyone knows the players so well."

That comment led to rumours doing the rounds on social media that he was coming out of retirement - despite him saying nothing to that effect. And he re-iterated on Wednesday that he's staying firmly on the coach rather than climbing back into the commentary box.

“No, I’d rule that out almost without any thought at all," he said. “I had a great career, 55 years. At the end of 2021, I decided that that would do me. Why would I take that risk of undoing whatever good I might have done? I got out while I was going reasonably well.”


Despite tipping Queensland fullback Reece Walsh to be the standout in Game I, Warren said he liked the look of the Blues. “The NSW side, I think it's a very good one," he said. "I am interested though that James (Tedesco) is coming back to replace Dylan (Edwards). I wonder did it go across their minds that maybe James should be reinstated as captain. That's just an angle that I don't think has been explored. That's all.”

Warren was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in February, adding another prestigious accolade to his long list. "I'm so honoured to be added to the list of recipients of this award," Warren said after receiving the reward.

"I had a deep-seated passion for broadcasting sport. It didn't matter if it was a Melbourne Cup or the Olympic Games. I loved going to work and there's not a lot of people that can say that, but I thank God I can. Most importantly, I'd like to thank the people that allowed me to be in their lounge rooms or to be at the pub or the club and inviting me into wherever they were at the time, so I thank everybody for that."

ASC Chair Josephine Sukkar AM said of Warren: "Ray is a sporting icon and a worthy recipient of this huge honour. After 55 years calling live sport spanning rugby league, Olympic and World Championship swimming and three Melbourne Cups, it would be hard to find someone who isn’t familiar with Rabs’ iconic voice."