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We want to rewind to a rainy Saturday night two days ago in Parramatta. The final rugby game of 2020 went underway.
Wallabies and Pumas unable to draw conclusions. Despite the robust defense formed but very little conversion play. And dealt a lot of slack with the ill-discipline.
It may not be the best ending to round out a condensed International year. Both teams have to settle for 16 apiece. It is unpredictable in such a rainy forecast.
Wallabies did take the Puma Trophy home based on their two wins in 2019. Both match ups this year ended in a draw.
This occasion also marked the end of the era for both TV rights holders. Network 10 on free to air after eight years. And Fox Sports/FOXTEL after 25 years since 1996.
We do not forget that Ten did air Rugby before in the early 90s. It first began between 1992 & 1995. Then Channel 7 took over for 15 years from 1996 to 2010.
Nine Network will take over the rights again in 2021. This time it will be exclusive with paid streaming service Stan Sport.
Today we focus on the two great doyens of rugby in Australia. They both called this game for a long time. Here is Greg Clark for Fox & Gordon Bray from Network 10.
Clarkie has called 213 International tests between 1999-2020. So does Super Rugby games for 20 years in 2001-2020.
I do not know who his predecessor was before Clarkie took over. But he did call rugby on Fox when it first started in 1996.
And maybe he made way for Clarkie by the time it hitted the 21st century. I hope to find out who he is later down the line.
I am sure Greg did a wonderful job for all these years on Fox. His style of calling does excite everyone including myself.
He deserved a wonderful sendoff the other day. And I am sure he will continue his media career post-Fox rugby era.
The same goes to Gordon Bray. He began calling test matches since 1976. The first 14 years span at the ABC. Then two years at Network 10 & 16 years at Channel 7.
Gordon did not call games in 2011-12 while Nine first held the rights. But he came back on TV via Ten in 2013-2020.
He also get to experience memorable moments with or without Rugby:
9 x Rugby World Cups
10 x Summer & Winter Olympics
6 x Commonwealth Games
It is such an illustrious history to reflect on the career of Gordon Bray. He has the rugby encyclopaedia that educates us.
We hope Gordon continues in some capacity. Even at age 71 after calling nearly 400 tests & 5 decades experience.
Now both Gordon & Greg received a tribute gift from Rob Clarke. He is the interim chairman of Rugby Australia.
The Wallabies players and staff also applaud them for their service. That occurred in their dressing room.
So far Clarkie or Gordon is not mentioned in Nine/Stan’s announcer shortlist. They want to have their unique coverage crew.
It would most likely appeal to a young audience. Sean Maloney is an interesting pick. I would not mind Andrew Swain, Patrick Folkes & Mark Braybrook.
Nine should not rule out Tom Rehn. He may come from Adelaide. But is versatile across their Tennis and Netball coverage.
I think Tom would do some Super Rugby games. I would say Involving with the Melbourne Rebels & Western Force. He will sit behind Sean as the deputy caller.
Now Greg Clark said that he is not going to retire just yet. So he will return behind the microphone in 2021. But where?
Calling Rugby League would not be a bad shout if he stays at Fox. He could also continue calling Rugby Sevens. It is no stranger he called this format for years.
Gordon still has some energy left in the tank. He does the presentations at the annuals Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
He also has a number of business interests from time to time. I think Gordon will freelance rugby games. Both in Australia and beyond in the Asia-Pacific.
We may miss them both calling in our rugby grounds every week. But we do not forget them as our Aussie rugby family.
We will also see a fresh generation of callers at the same time. Sean will look to emulate them in these footsteps one day.