Iconic rugby league commentator Ray Warren has announced his retirement, ending a legendary broadcasting career spanning over half a century.
Fondly known as ‘Rabs’, Warren has become the voice of rugby league coverage for the Nine Network, calling 99 of the 122 State of Origin matches played since the interstate clashes began in 1982.
As well as his Origin calls, Warren commentated 45 grand finals during his career.
The 78-year-old also called swimming at three Olympics for Nine as well as three Melbourne Cups.
Having famously rolled marbles down a hill in his home town of Junee as child, calling it as if it was a horse race, Warren began his broadcasting career at 2LF in Young in 1966.
Within three years Warren was working at Sydney station 2GB before beginning his television rugby league commentary career with Channel 10 for midweek Amco Cup matches.
Established as Nine’s chief league commentator during the 1990s, Warren’s lines during several Origin matches became the stuff of legend, including his “that’s not a try, that’s a miracle” when Queensland’s Mark Coyne scored a match-winning try in the 1994 series opener in Sydney.
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.