Rugby league’s greatest caller has been sidelined for the historic showdown between Brisbane and Parramatta, with a little-known commentator replacing him.
Rugby league’s greatest caller has been sidelined for the historic showdown between Brisbane and Parramatta, with a little-known commentator replacing him.

TV shock: Rabs benched for historic NRL return

Someone forgot to tell Channel 9 that tonight's premiership relaunch is the most anticipated game of football in any code for years.

Footy-starved viewers switching on the Eels against the Broncos would no doubt be expecting to hear the beautiful dulcet tones of Ray 'Rabs' Warren, a household name and the voice of rugby league.

Ray Warren has been sidelined from the Channel 9 commentary. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Ray Warren has been sidelined from the Channel 9 commentary. Picture: Phil Hillyard

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Not so. The great man is watching from home.

Instead Nine is using little known lower-grade caller Peter Psaltis to commentate out of Suncorp Stadium, a shock choice considering the magnitude of the game.

Rabs has a well-known dislike for aeroplanes plus the QLD borders are still closed, courtesy of COVID-19 and a stubborn premier.

LISTEN! Adam Mobbs, Phil Rothfield and Michael Carayannis are back with The Daily Telegraph NRL Podcast to talk through the Bronson Xerri positive drug test drama, the Parramatta Eels pressure cooker, your top eight picks ... and what are we looking forward to most this season!

Still, surely the great man could have called off the big screens from Nine's Sydney studios.

We are talking about the first media man to be included in the NRL's Hall of Fame, alongside our late and great mate Peter 'Chippy' Frilingos.

Even the Rabs' legendary side-kick - the great Phil 'Gus' Gould - is not at Suncorp tonight.

He's instead on an expert panel in Sydney.

Queensland lower-grade caller Peter Psaltis is in the hot seat. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker
Queensland lower-grade caller Peter Psaltis is in the hot seat. Picture: AAP/Richard Walker

A spokesman for Channel 9 said Warren is working Friday night instead on the Rabbitohs v Roosters blockbuster.

Fox Sports is however producing the big guns tonight with ace caller Andrew Voss on deck alongside Greg 'Brandy' Alexander and Maroons Origin coach Kevvy Walters. They also have Corey Parker on the sideline.

Originally published as TV shock: Rabs benched for historic NRL return


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