16 March 2023

Region Riverina vs legendary commentator Ray Warren

| Glenn Pallister
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man with football

The ”Voice of Rugby League”, Ray Warren. Photo: NRL Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia says Raymond Warren OAM is a retired Australian sports commentator, known for his coverage of televised professional rugby league matches on the Nine Network.

He is known as the “Voice of Rugby League”, and called 99 State of Origin games as well as 45 NRL grand finals. Warren also used to call Australian swimming team events and the FINA World Championships until Nine lost the rights to these events in 2008, and in 2012 he participated in Nine’s coverage of the London Olympics.

We say: Rabs – deadset legend! Another in our Top 50 Aussies to have a beer with.

Do you have a connection to the Region? What and when was your last visit?

I was born in Junee in 1943, spent the first 17 years of my life there, lived in Belmore and Stewart streets.

Last visited in September last year, visiting the graves of many of my family, Mum and Dad are buried there.

Favourite part of the Region?

I love all of it. The agriculture, you can run sheep or cattle, to me it’s the heartland, but I guess when the canola is in bloom, that’s the prettiest time of the year.

We love to stay a night at Binalong with Tom and Marilyn Duffy at the Royal Tara and to brush up on my knowledge of the great Banjo Paterson. We often take the turn-off at Bowning and head through Binalong, Harden and the birthplace of Don Bradman at Cootamundra.

Man and a statue

Former NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley with the statue of Ray Warren in Junee. Photo: Laurie Daley.

What was your best food experience?

When we travel over to neighbouring Wagga Wagga, we love a sandwich at Le Brooks. Friends own it, you might know them.

Author’s note – I own Le Brooks Cafe and there was no cash for comment. Rabs and his beautiful wife Cher always pay for their food … we love to see them when they are in the Region.

What’s a “must do” when in the Region?

Must do’s are many and I am biased but at Junee the Roundhouse, where I started work at 14 looking after the steam engines, would be my favourite.

Then there is the Licorice and Chocolate factory and Monte Cristo the haunted house, but most of all the landscape of the Riverina itself is breathtaking.

Drive or fly?

Definitely drive and not because I’m scared of flying.

What are your three go-to songs on the road trip to the Region?

Haven’t got three but the Road to Gundagai gets a spin if we come through Gundagai. (Starts singing …”there’s a track winding back …”)

Name one person you would not want in the passenger seat for the drive.

Vladimir Putin!

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Name anyone, dead or alive, who you would want in the passenger seat for the drive.

I’m not falling for this one. I am happy with my wife Cher. If the vehicle was a bus, my whole family, I’d love that and a chance to say some of the things that I didn’t when I had the chance.

Do you bring your own pillows?

Never taken our own pillows. The Crossing Motel is a lovely home when we get there.

Why should someone who hasn’t visited here make the trip?

I think I’ve covered that in the above, but this is beautiful country from the mountains down the slopes to the plains, with the Murrumbidgee winding its way through to the irrigation and beyond.

I recommend a short trip from Junee out towards Ganmain and Coolamon to see how the slopes become the plains, and the other pretty drive is to go back through Gundagai and drive towards the mountains, it’s spectacular.

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