Ray Warren’s love of sports commentating began in the kitchen of his childhood home at Junee, listening to the races on his parents’ wireless radio.
A lifetime later and just shy of his 71st birthday, the voice of League has been awarded a medal of the Order of Australia during the Queen’s Birthday honours for his service to the broadcast media industry.
The Castle Hill resident and Nine Network commentator, who began his career in 1966 at Radio 2LF at Young, said he was ‘‘over the moon’’ the day he discovered he’d been nominated.
‘‘It’s a great thrill,’’ Warren said. ‘‘It’s been pretty tough keeping it a secret.
‘‘I didn’t win the Davis Cup, I didn’t win the Ashes, I’m not Adam Scott, I’m not Steve Waugh. I’m nothing really, except a kid from the country who had a dream.’’
Colloquially known as ‘‘Rabbits’’, Warren said he was still enjoying his work despite being in his 49th year on the job.
Throughout his career, he’s worked for 2GB, the Ten Network, Radio 2KY Sydney, for Triple M on the Dead Set Legends radio show and for the Nine Network as a rugby league and swimming commentator since 1989.
‘‘From six or seven, I knew what I wanted to be. I used to roll marbles down a slope and practice my race calling. As I got older and we were able to buy a television, I used to sit and call the sport.’’
The youngest of seven, Warren dedicated his award to his parents, who backed his dream from the start.
‘‘I see this as an award for firstly my parents and family, who helped this crazy kid from Junee who had this dream to be a sports commentator.
‘‘If you’re a kid from the country or a kid from the bush, it doesn’t matter how humble your parentage, you can make it, you can play first grade.’’
Last week, Warren commentated his 76th State of Origin, of which there have only been 100.
‘‘I’m still punching on,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s still very much like I’m rolling those marbles, I’m still having fun.’’